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Published: Friday, 1/4/2013

Mother, 17, fiance, 20, die in Bryan house blaze

Grandparents escape with 5-month-old infant

Sebastian McConnell, 20, and Ashley Jenkins, 17, both of Bryan, were killed in a house fire early Thursday in Bryan. Sebastian McConnell, 20, and Ashley Jenkins, 17, both of Bryan, were killed in a house fire early Thursday in Bryan.

BRYAN, Ohio — With flames consuming the two-story house when they arrived, Bryan firefighters tried unsuccessfully Thursday morning to rescue a young couple trapped on the second floor.

“They made an attempt to get to the second floor where the people were at, but they were driven back by the fire,” Bryan Fire Chief Bruce Siders said.

Killed in the blaze were Ashley Jenkins, 17, and her fiance, Sebastian McConnell, 20, who lived in the North Beech Street house with their 5-month-old son, Nicholas; Miss Jenkins’ mother, Jackie Kurtz, and stepfather, Joseph Kurtz.

Chief Siders said the Kurtzes and the baby were asleep on the first floor when the fire broke out just after 1 a.m. and escaped unharmed.

A neighbor dialed 911 to report the fire, which apparently broke out in the living room on the first floor.

“The initial call was reports of people trapped upstairs and upon arrival, the house was fully involved in fire,” the chief said. “The guys made an attempt to try to reach the victims, but to no avail. They had to back out.”

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office were called in to help determine the cause of the blaze in Bryan, a Williams County city 55 miles west of Toledo.

Firefighters from neighboring departments, including Edgerton, Montpelier, Brady Township, and Alvordton, helped battle the blaze, which they reported was brought under control about 3 a.m.

“It was intense, and it was very cold out last night,” the chief said.

Chief Siders said the Kurtzes were renting the house from owner Scott Lirot.

“They said they had a smoke detector on each floor, but nobody heard any, not even the Kurtzes,” he said.

Their church, Grace Community Church in Bryan, was assisting them Thursday.

Autopsies on the victims were to be performed by the Lucas County Coroner’s Office in Toledo.


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