Fire destroys Portsmouth home; local restaurant stepping in to help

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A fire destroyed a home Wednesday afternoon in Portsmouth, city firefighters say.

They said it was reported around 12:25 p.m. in the 300 block of Offnere Street.

No residents were home at the time.

“This can’t be happening,” said Jeffrey Martin, who lived at the home. “I was hoping my dogs were OK. It was just insane.”

Martin, along with his fiance Ericha Soward, were two of the people living in the home. They are both employed at Sonora Mexican Grill in Portsmouth. They were both at work when they got the call.

Martin and Soward’s four dogs and some birds made it to safety. One of their neighbor’s dogs, they say, died in the fire.

Crews say they encountered heavy smoke when they arrived, and the home was engulfed on the inside.

While the cause is undetermined, it’s not considered to be suspicious, firefighters said. The home is considered a total loss.

Crews, including 12 firefighters, four engine companies and a medic, didn’t clear the scene until nearly 3 p.m.

Now, Martin and Soward’s employer is stepping up to help their employees and the couple’s neighbor, by asking the community to pitch in with anything from clothes to monetary donations.

“We always like to help others,” said Martin Miranda, who owns Sonora Mexican Grill. “[The community] helped me establish [my business] here and helped me be a successful owner.”

Miranda is now using his story of the American Dream to pass it on and give back to his community.

“We are family,” Miranda said. “That’s what family does, is take care of each other.”

Clothing and monetary donations can be brought to Sonora Mexican Grill in Lucasville or in Portsmouth.

The Portsmouth location is located at 1701 Grandview Ave.

The Lucasville location is located at 82 Robert Lucas Road.

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