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Fire Destroys Columbus Home

Last updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

(COLUMBUS) - James Coryell and his family arrived home Monday afternoon to find an alarming end to a nice day away.

Chris Schilling, of The Republic, reports smoke was pouring out of their house at 1102 California St.

They called 911, and firefighters quickly rolled up.

"It wasn't 5 minutes, and they were here," Coryell said.

Coryell has lived at the home, owned by Tom Wetherald, for about two years with his wife, Kelly, his step-daughter, Autumn Blair, and Blair's four children.

No one was home or injured in the fire. But family members were concerned about the welfare of their cat, Dice.

"We're hoping he's still alive," Coryell said as he watched firefighters work at his home from a neighbor's yard.

Matt Noblitt, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department, said the fire started in a bedroom on the north side of the house. He said firefighters were told a cigarette was left burning in the room, which could have caused the blaze. A damage estimate was not available Monday afternoon.

The blaze burned and blackened the white siding on the north side of the house. The rest of the house's exterior showed little evidence of the fire, but a look inside the home showed heavy damage and blackened belongings.

Donald Newland said he was driving home on 11th Street when he got caught behind emergency vehicles responding to the fire.

"Smoke was going everywhere," Newland said.

Blair said she figured that her family "lost everything." The local chapter of the American Red Cross responded to assist the family.

The fire will make celebrating her 4-year-old son Douglas' birthday on Wednesday less exciting, she said. Douglas is the oldest of her sons. The others are 2 and 1 years old and 7 weeks.

"I'll try to make it as best as I can, I guess," she said.

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