VAN WERT — Investigators in Van Wert sifted through the ashes of a house fire Friday, looking for the cause of a blaze that killed a husband and wife while they slept.
Firefighters got the call just after 2 a.m. Friday when a downstairs renter at 328 N. Market St. called 911.
When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the upstairs of the three-unit, two-story apartment house.
“The (Van Wert) police department had already arrived prior to us and helped assist an occupant from the lower apartment. That person is doing fine,” said Jon Jones, Van Wert Fire Chief. “They had some extensive fire, and after the search, we found two victims upstairs.”
Relatives of the deceased identify them as Ron Schriver, 72, and his wife, Tanya Shriver, 47. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
Fire investigators are focusing on an upstairs bathroom as being a possible starting point of the fire.
“We have the state fire marshal here right now, and we’re up there investigating trying to find an area of origin,” Jones said. “There’s heavy damage, so it takes a while to sift through everything to figure that out.”
A dollar amount of the damages was undetermined Friday morning.
The Van Wert County Community Emergency Response Team was called to assist.
“We assembled the team and got on the scene. The CERT Team assisted the families,” said Mark Klausing, director of the CERT Team. “The families that got out, we assisted them and also are assisting the firefighters on the scene with canteening and feeding them.”
The Van Wert Fire Department was assisted by Middle Point and Convoy fire departments.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.