5 people die in rural northwest Ohio house fire

REPUBLIC, Ohio — A fast-moving fire leveled a 130-year-old farmhouse overnight on Tuesday, killing five people in rural northwest Ohio.

Authorities believe the victims include three young children who lived at the home along with two adults. It will be up to a coroner to identify the victims.

“We assume those are the ones recovered,” said Dean Henry, a spokesman for several volunteer fire departments that responded.

A truck driver spotted smoke coming from the house just after 3 a.m. Tuesday and called 911, Henry said,

The two-story house was fully engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived, he said.

The wood-frame home that sits outside the village of Republic is fairly isolated and surrounded by farm fields about 50 miles southeast of Toledo. The nearest house is about a quarter-mile away.

Firefighters and investigators spent much of Tuesday looking through the debris for the victims and clues to what caused the fire. The last two victims were found by mid-afternoon.

The family bought the home in 2004, according to county auditor records that said the house was built in 1880.

It’s not clear how they all were related. He said one of the three children — ages 6, 8, 12 — has a different last name than the other four.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into the cause.

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