Residents pick up the pieces after apartment fire kills two

It happened around 2:00 Friday morning at 328 North Market Street. A house was divided into three apartments.

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 3:52 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 1:54 AM

VAN WERT, Ohio. (WFFT)- Two people are dead after an early morning fire in Van Wert.

It happened around 2:00 Friday morning at 328 North Market Street. A house was divided into three apartments.

When crews arrived they found heavy smoke coming from the upstairs. The victims were found there and pronounced dead. A sister of one of the victims told the Times Bulletin in Van Wert their names were Tanya and Ron Shriver, but the Van Wert County Coroner could not confirm that at this time.

Another resident of the house was treated in the ambulance. The Van Wert Fire Chief said blazes like this take a toll on everyone involved.

"Whenever there's something like this, everybody's surprised, and it puts worry into people because they always think it could be them," said Chief Jon Jones.

That's what was going through Larry Kiracofe's mind as he looked up at what was left of the house. With family and friends from the VFW by his side, he found his gas grill and what was left of his trash can in the yard.

He remembers hearing the smoke detector.

"I came this way, opened the door, and that's when I seen the glow and seen embers falling, so I called it in and got out," Kiracofe said.

After almost 24 years in his apartment, Kiracofe has to move on. 

"I'll find me a place," he said.

Stephen Manning works for the C.E.R.T team in Van Wert.

"We respond to fires here, or disasters here in Van Wert County."

Manning was at work when he heard about the fire. He was about to respond to the call, then he checked his pager.

"Another text went out saying it was on Market Street, so I said, 'Okay that's my street.' But I wasn't sure of the house at the time," he said.

Then, another page. Manning's home was on fire.

"I looked at my boss and said, 'That's my house, I need to go.' I dropped to the floor at work, I hopped in my car and I just got here as fast as I could," he said.

Most of his belongings, and the apartment, are destroyed from water damage.

"My home.. My apartment is not livable at all. So, I'm completely in shock. Words can't even describe what happened. I just, I don't know how this could have happened," Manning said.

Now he's saving what he can from inside. He'll stay in another apartment provided by the landlord, while crews figure out what caused the blaze.

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