MEDINA — Medina police officers rescued two women from an early morning fire Wednesday at Birch Hill Apartments.
Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter said thick smoke billowed out of the second-floor apartment in the 500 block of Birch Hill Drive, as officers helped the two 19-year-old women climb down a ladder to safety.
Medina police Officers Matt Martincin and Chris Deeks were credited with the rescue. Police Chief Ed Kinney said he is proud of his officers.
“Absolutely,” he said. “They did an excellent job.”
The fire call came in at 4:36 a.m.
“Typically, (we’re) on first on the scene for fire and medical calls,” Kinney said.
As such, police personnel from Medina, Medina Township and Montville Township trained with the Medina Fire Department a few months ago to learn how best to respond to a fire.
Both Martincin and Deeks received training during that event.
“It showed how valuable that training was,” Kinney said.
Painter said the fire likely started in the pump or heater of an aquarium the women had in their living room.
The women woke up due to the heavy smoke, the fire chief said.
“They tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher,” Painter said.
When police arrived, the officers tried to encourage the women to jump from the second floor, but they were afraid, the fire chief said. That’s when the officers went looking for the ladder the women used to escape the apartment. The officers borrowed a ladder from a vehicle in the parking lot.
“Just as our unit was coming (into the parking lot), they were bringing the women down the ladder,” Painter said.
The fire chief said the women’s cat and several small animals were also rescued. There were four different cages of animals in the bedroom.
The firefighters have a cat mask on hand just for emergencies like this.
Painter said four fire engines and 16 firefighters responded to the scene. He said the department was at the scene for about 90 minutes. The fire was isolated to the one unit in the building, only displacing the two women.
“The women were very lucky,” Painter said.
The fire chief said the women didn’t have renters insurance and did not have a damage estimate.
“Just about everything was ruined,” the fire chief said.
The one-bedroom apartment had a smoke detector, but it had no battery.
“All that for a $2 battery,” Painter said.