April 4: Don Patterson, with Green Township fire department is aided by colleagues as he walks from the scene where to two firefighters died at a fire
An apparent electrical fire destroyed a house trailer before dawn Friday in northwest Ohio, killing a family of five, including an infant boy and two other children, authorities said.
Near Cincinnati, two firefighters died around the same time after getting trapped in the basement of a burning house.
The kitchen area of the home where the family died was engulfed in flames, and the rest of the home was filled with smoke, said policeman Matt Purdy, the first responder to arrive. There were no sounds coming from inside, he said.
"I kicked the (front) door with everything I had, but I couldn't get in," he said.
The fire was ruled accidental, said Matt Mullins, a spokesman with the State Fire Marshal's Office. He did not specify the nature of the electrical problem.
Officials investigating the cause found that a rear exit was blocked by furniture and other items, said Shane Cartmill, spokesman for the Fire Marshal's Office.
A neighbor, Kevin Clemons, 45, said he awoke about 5 a.m. and saw the fire.
"They had flames coming out of the end of the trailer," said Clemons, who didn't know the victims.
The bodies of 4 1/2-month-old Joseph Farkasdi and his parents, Thomas J. Farkasdi, 39, and Shirley Farkasdi, 35, were found in the bedroom area, authorities said. Two girls, Jessica Farkasdi, 7, and Tiffany Farkasdi, 6, were pronounced dead at a hospital, Fire Chief Jay Epley said.
The fire took place on a dead-end street about four blocks from downtown Ada, a village of about 5,000 people 70 miles northwest of Columbus, Police Chief Mike Harnishfeger said.
In Colerain Township west of Cincinnati, the firefighters who died may have fallen through the floor, said fire Capt. Steve Conn.
"We are not sure if it was a floor collapse or a stairwell collapsed," Conn said.
Fire broke out shortly after 6 a.m. at the two-story, four-bedroom house, he said.
Two occupants escaped before firefighters arrived. But because of the early hour, firefighters assume people could still be inside and go in to search while trying to extinguish the blaze, Conn said.
The bodies of Capt. Robin Broxterman, 37, and Brian Schira, 29, were found in the basement. They were members of Colerain Township Engine Company 102.
As ambulances carrying the bodies drove slowly down the long driveway from the house, firefighters took off their helmets and bowed their heads. Some patted the ambulances as they went past.
The cause of the fire was being investigated.