Heating methods spotted in Ohio fire after family of 6 killed
An Ohio fire department spokesman said a wood burner, kerosene heaters, and electric heaters were used to heat the home.
NEWCOMERSTOUN, Ohio — Authorities investigating a fire that claimed the lives of six members of an Ohio family are looking into the possibility that the fire was caused by alternative heating methods the family used to keep warm.
Ohio Fire Chief Kevin Reardon said the fire, which was reported at 1:30 a.m. Monday in Newcomerstown, resulted in “tragic loss of life for an entire family” and occurred during the state’s record-breaking year for fire casualties.
Officials said arriving fire brigades found heavy fire at ground floor level, making entry unsafe, and the structure collapsed into the basement shortly after 2 a.m. Monday. According to the Tuskarawas County Coroner’s Office, six victims were removed. No details about them are disclosed until the notification of relatives.
Brian Peterman, Assistant Chief of Investigations for the State Fire Department, said a wood burner, kerosene heaters, and electric heaters were used to heat the house, and he said the heaters “most likely weren’t used properly.” ”
“Because of the sub-zero weather, a family of six lived there … they tried to do everything they could to keep warm,” he said. “Unfortunately, these devices come with dangers.”
According to him, no evidence of smoke detectors was found, but he noted that the structure was badly damaged. Officials believe the property was rented out and are trying to track down the owner and determine if he had any insurance, he said.
The Newcomerstown Board of Education said grief support would be offered to “those affected by this devastating event.” Officials said “counselors, religious support, and school staff” will be available on Tuesday, and additional counselors and support staff will also be available when students return on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
“We are heartbroken as we begin to realize the enormity of this loss,” wrote Superintendent Jason Peoples in a post on the social network.
Mayor Pat Cadle said crews from a number of areas were on the scene throughout the night and morning, despite what he called “strongly cold temperatures.” Cadle told reporters that the community is saddened by “this tragedy and loss of life.”
The fire was part of a deadly holiday weekend when 10 people died in Ohio. Fires in the state have killed 151 people this year, according to official figures. Many fires have been associated with smoking and careless handling of cigarettes, smoking on oxygen and the use of heating appliances.
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