LIMA — Officials on Thursday afternoon released the name of a man who perished in an apartment fire earlier that morning just south of downtown Lima.
Heather Lee, investigator for the office of Allen County Coroner Dr. John Meyer, said Norise Cousey, 60, perished in the blaze. Lee said smoke inhalation was suspected as the cause of death but noted an autopsy for Cousey was scheduled for Friday at the Lucas County Coroner’s Office.
According to a spokesman for the Lima Fire Department, firefighters were dispatched at 2:46 a.m. Thursday to the apartment complex at the corner of Main and Vine streets. Upon their arrival, firemen observed heavy fire coming from a second-story window on the Main Street side of the apartments. Lima Police Department officers who were already at the scene advised firefighters that one of the residents of the building remained unaccounted for.
Firemen found Cousey deceased in an apartment on the second floor of the structure, and the coroner’s office was summoned to the scene.
Two additional residents of the apartment complex, located on the second and third floors of the structure at 902 S. Main St., were escorted from the burning building and were taken to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The American Red Cross was called in to help the remaining seven occupants of the building who were displaced by the fire find temporary housing accommodations.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, according to the fire department spokesman. Damage to the building was estimated at $5,000.
The apartments where the fire occurred are situated above what was once an after-hours bar known as The Alamo. It was on the sidewalk outside that building that Anthony Bankston, 25, was found shot to death on Dec. 29, 2018. Three other people were injured in that shooting. Jemonte McNeal, 25, of Pickerington, has been charged with Bankston’s murder.
Just over a year ago, a permanent injunction granted by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser prohibited any future assemblage at the Main Street property.
The City of Lima had requested a temporary restraining order on the building in early January 2019 after the shooting death of Bankston. Property owners Victor Quintero and Gilbert Salaz agreed they would no longer use the premises as an “after-hours” bar, nor allow any future assemblage there.