Firefighters battle blaze near Bergholz

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By Eric Lowe

CCM Contributor

At approximately 5:30 a.m. Feb. 22, Bergholz Fire department received a call regarding a structure fire at the home of Jeff and Jessica Puckett at 8473 Township Road 263 in Bergholz.

Homeowner Jeff Puckett told the Messenger he left the residence just minutes before he received a call telling him the home was on fire.

“I just left for work and I no more than got there at about 5:40 a.m. when I got the phone call. My wife smelled smoke with the smoke going up into the hallway,” he said.

Jeff’s wife, Jessica Puckett, said she smelled the smoke right after her husband had left for work.

“I actually smelled something and, at first, I thought it was my coffee pot. I turned my coffee pot off and sat back down. Next thing you know my smoke detector started going off. I could smell the smoke but I couldn’t see the smoke. I ran back and got my daughter up,” Jessica said.

Jeff and Jessica’s daughter lives directly next door.  Both Jessica and her daughter both went into the home and got all five of their dogs out safely.

“As I was going outside, I called 911. Then I went back into the house. We have a dog that is blind, so I went to go grab him; that is when I could see flames in the hallway and in the kitchen.”

Considering the harsh conditions of the roads due to the brisk, rainy morning weather, Jessica said the fire department response time was good.

Bergholz originally received the call and asked for mutual aid from Fox Township, Carrollton Village, Amsterdam, Unionport and Salineville departments.

“Considering the bridge is out, they got here pretty fast,” Jeff noted.

Area EMS and fire departments established a mutual response plan due to the closure of SR 164 because of the bridge collapse at the edge of Bergholz.

The house was built in 1964 and both Jeff and Jessica have lived in the home for 30 years. Jeff has worked at DeNoon Lumber for 30 years. Jeff said the couple heats the home with an outdoor wood burner, so that cannot be the cause of the fire.

 “I left the front door open hoping to see our cats get out, but we haven’t seen them.  We have five dogs and three cats. The dogs have their own room so it was pretty easy to get them out. I am hoping the cats are safe in the back bedroom, seeing as the fire didn’t get to the bedroom, I’m hoping that’s where they are and are safe,” Jeff added.

Firemen remained on the scene as of press time Monday morning.

There was also a report of an accident in the area while firefighters were on scene due to slippery road conditions.

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