UPDATE @ 9:43 p.m.: Unattended cooking likely is the cause of the house fire on Wellington Drive that destroyed the back end of the two-story dwelling, Dayton Fire District Chief Barry Baldwin said.
The tension firefighters always work under was exacerbated by the threat that children were believed to be in the house when crews arrived, the district chief said.
"When you get a report that there are people inside, especially children, crews move into a different gear," Baldwin said. "That's the gear we were in when we got here."
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Their first priority -- before dealing with the flames that had burned through to the second floor -- was to search the interior. They didn't find anyone, Baldwin said. The three children had exited the house, with their mother, about 30 minutes earlier, he said.
Baldwin estimated the damage to the structure and contents -- the entire rear of the house was destroyed -- at $30,000 to $50,000.
The mother and children will be staying with friends and/or relatives, he said.
An investigator was called to the property, he said, but it appears, according to what the mother told firefighters, that's it unattended cooking.
"Maybe she left the stove on and left the premises," the district chief said.
A section of South Smithville Road remained closed for hours because the cold turned water used in the fire fight to ice. Street maintenance trucks were brought in to lay down road salt.
Crews expected to have the road open again just after 10 p.m.
UPDATE @ 6:16 p.m.:
The house fire on Wellington Drive caused extensive damage, a Dayton fire battalion chief said.
The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen, at the back of the home, the battalion chief said.
A woman and two children who are the residents were not home when the fire broke out. There are no reported injuries.
South Smithville Road remains shut down until further notice.
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UPDATE @ 5:51 p.m.: South Smithville Road at Linden Avenue is shut down in both directions because of the house fire on Wellington Drive.
Crews are on the scene of a structure fire, in the 3000 block of Wellington Drive, where people are possibly trapped.
Dayton fire crews are searching the two-story building right now, we're hearing.
We have a crew on the way. We will update this developing report.
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