ATTICA, Ohio --A family of five perished in an early-morning house fire today in eastern Seneca County, officials said.
The victims’ were tentatively identified as Joseph D. Hamilton; his wife, Holly R. Hamilton, 31; her daughter, Olivia Bondy, 11; and the couple’s two sons, Jaxon Hamilton, 8, and Linkin Hamilton, 6.
County auditor records indicate the house at 13843 Township Road 124 in Reed Township was purchased by Joseph D. Hamilton in 2004.
Dean Henry, a spokesman for Seneca County, said the fire was reported at 3:17 a.m. by a truckdriver traveling on State Rt. 162. When crews arrived on scene, the two-story, turn-of-the-century farmhouse was fully involved in what apparently was a fast-moving fire, Mr. Henry said.
Little remained of the wood-frame house as firefighters using a backhoe sifted through the rubble this afternoon in search of the victims’ bodies. The fifth victim was found just before 3 p.m.
Mr. Henry said administrators at Seneca East Local Schools in nearby Attica where the children were students were contacted, and plans were activated to notify their classmates and make arrangements for counselors to be on hand for students who needed them.
Olivia was a sixth grader; Jaxon was a second-grader, and Linkin was in kindergarten, according to Seneca East Elementary Principal Brad Powers. The children were not at school Monday, he said, because they had gone out of town for the long holiday weekend and were not expected to return until today.
Mr. Powers sent a letter home with students today informing them of the house fire.
Through the afternoon, firefighters from Attica and Republic remained on the scene spraying water on the charred remains of the house, which continued to smolder.
Mr. Henry said the Seneca County Coroner's Office was on scene as the recovery effort continued into the afternoon.
Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office also were at the scene. He said there was no indication of where in the home, or how, the deadly fire started.
In all, firefighters from five departments -- Attica, Republic, Huron River, Monroeville, and Bellevue -- responded to the blaze.