3 dead in Wyandot County fire - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

3 dead in Wyandot County fire

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Several people lived in the two apartments above the Old General Store in Harpster, OH. Several people lived in the two apartments above the Old General Store in Harpster, OH.
HARPSTER, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Three people are dead, and a family homeless after a fire in Harpster, OH early Tuesday.

The victims are identified 18-year-old Zenan Wample, 20-year-old James Gatchell, 19-year-old Lauren Vinson.

The Wyandot County Sheriff's Office says the fire broke out around 3 a.m. at the Old General Store building in downtown Harpster, which has been closed for several years. The flames consumed the building and smoke could still be smelled hours after the blaze was extinguished. At least four fire departments were called to assist.

Several people lived in the two apartments above the store. The sheriff's office says in one apartment, a mother with three young kids, ages 11, 9 and 3, made it out safely after waking up to smoke alarms.


SLIDESHOW: Photos of the fire at the Old General Store building in Harpster


In the second apartment, a 20-year-old woman and two men, ages 19 and 18, died.

Two other men inside that same apartment were able to escape. One jumped from a second-story window. The other is recovering from burns at a Toledo hospital.

"It's traumatic. Everybody knows people in this community; they're related. So it's a traumatic experience. It's a shock," said Wyandot County Sheriff Michael Hetzel.

In this tight-knit community, people are afraid they know one of the deceased.

"Kind of an empty feeling for me. It's gonna be a great loss for that family," said Ron Rodabaugh, who lives nearby.

The Wyandot County Red Cross is working to help provide resources for all survivors.
    
Investigators are still trying to find a cause.

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