BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Whitehouse police officers Ken Scheuerman and Lt. Brad Baker were just beginning their shift on Sunday, October 17 at 6:15 a.m. when a call came in about a fire at 6931 Heller Rd. – one of two apartment buildings.
Because of their quick actions, all 11 people and one cat on-site were evacuated safely, Mayor Don Atkinson told Whitehouse Village Council during the October 19 meeting. Atkinson plans to recognize the two officers next month during a council meeting.
“It was early on a Sunday morning, when most people are in bed,” Baker explained. “Even though the fire alarm was going off in the hallway, we wanted to make sure everyone could hear it.”
The two officers began pounding on doors to get everyone out, then headed upstairs, but the smoke was so bad they could hardly see or breathe. Then they remembered having old gas masks in the trunk. With a mask on, Baker headed upstairs, while Scheuerman went to the basement, where a resident didn’t want to leave her apartment without her cat. He convinced her to leave by promising to get the cat – who was cowering in a corner before being rescued. Baker called the Red Cross, which sent a representative from Monroe, Mich., to get 14 residents set up with hotel rooms.
By that time, fire departments from the 180th Fighter Wing, Providence Township, Monclova Township, Waterville and Whitehouse were on-site to quickly put out the fire while police officers from Waterville and the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office arrived, along with Public Works Department personnel.
“It’s amazing what Brad and Ken did,” said Whitehouse Deputy Fire Chief Jason Francis.
He estimated the damage at about $80,000 and mostly in Apartment 1, but the utilities to the entire building were turned off and a disaster remediation firm was cleaning carpets throughout. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Atkinson said this was the first working fire since the co-op was formed between Waterville, Waterville Township and Whitehouse. With full-time firefighters on duty the fire was quickly extinguished.
During the meeting, council also:
• Heard that Whitehouse police received provisional certification from the Ohio Collaborative Community Police Advisory Board in the area of body-worn cameras. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission have mandated 24 hours of continuing professional training for all Ohio law enforcement in 2022, in areas such as diversity, inclusion and equity; responding to mental health; use of force; legal updates; officer personal wellness; responding to sexual assaults; domestic violence and other training associated with the Ohio Collaborative, said Chief Mark McDonough.
• Swore in part-time police officer Alexa Miller. A full-time officer with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office since 2016, Miller serves as the school resource officer for the county.
• Heard Public Works Director Steve Pilcher say that leaf collection will continue until all leaves are picked up. He asked residents to place leaves next to the curb but not in the street. Leaf piles should not include twigs or other objects.
• Heard that work on the sewer line will soon move west into the field, so Cemetery Road and the Wabash Cannonball Trail should be paved and open by mid-November.
• Heard that flu shots will be available on Wednesday, November 10 at village hall. Appoint-ments can be made by calling (419) 877-5383.
• Listened to Larry and Kathy Kowalka ask for help in dealing with Kennametal, which backs up to the Centerville Street home they’ve lived in for 26 years. A change in exhaust fans a few years ago has created additional noise that makes it difficult to enjoy the outdoors or have their windows open, the couple said. Atkinson said he and administrator Jordan Daugherty would set up a meeting with Kennametal representatives.
• Approved a one-time merit payment for employees based on longevity plus an additional $100 per employee.
• Learned that the Board of Zoning Appeals denied a variance for Thomas Construction to build a two-story duplex with a garage in a vacant lot behind the post office.
• Authorized the administrator to apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to reconstruct Swanton Street between Maumee and Texas streets at an estimated cost of $193,055.