Tim Spradlin, chief of investigation for the state fire marshal, right, speaks with a Tiffin firefighter at the scene of a fire that killed 5 children and a 25-year-old man who was the father of the youngest, a 1-year-old.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
TIFFIN — Anna Angel was working at Burger King early Sunday when she got a call that her nearby trailer was on fire.
She jumped on her bike, her only mode of transportation, and raced home, only to find her boyfriend and five children had been taken to Mercy Hospital of Tiffin.
“Her mother picked her up from outside the trailer,” said Rick Hummell, one of her neighbors at Highland Trailer Park, 686 S. Sandusky St. “I watched them bring each of the kids out of the trailer. They were lifeless. I watched [the firefighters] drop to their knees. I’m sure it was the worst thing they had ever seen.”
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Friends and relatives stood by Ms. Angel, 30, outside the hospital where the mother identified her five children as the victims of the fatal blaze that also claimed the life of her boyfriend.
Tiffin police received a 911 call at about 7:45 a.m. that there was an active fire at Highland Trailer Park. Police and fire were dispatched to the scene, and part of the trailer was fully engulfed by the time an officer arrived on the scene at 7:48 a.m. Fire and EMS arrived at 7:50 a.m.
The victims have been identified as Ms. Angel’s boyfriend, Timothy Fresch, 25, and their young son Domonic Fresch, 1, and Ms. Angel’s children Trinitie Huey, 4; Sunshine Huey, 3; Stormie Huey, 5, and Tiara Angel, 6.
Ricky Huey of Fostoria was the father of three of the girls. His daughter Stormie was in kindergarten at Washington Elementary School in Tiffin. Tiara Angel, whose father is Timothy Stallings of Toledo, was a first grader. Mr. Stallings was unavailable for comment.
Ms. Angel, accompanied by co-worker Patricia Boes of Tiffin, identified her children. Ms. Angel gave each child a kiss good-bye, Ms. Boes said.
“They wouldn’t let her or Timothy’s mother see him,” Ms. Boes said. “I guess he was in really bad shape.”
Ms. Angel’s sister, Angel Ramirez of Tiffin, said relatives were told by the hospital that the children and Mr. Fresch most likely died of smoke inhalation. Autopsies are pending.
Ms. Angel’s aunt, Beverleen Stull of Tiffin, was outside the hospital supporting Ms. Angel, who cried and hugged supporters before being escorted by the hospital’s chaplain and her mother to a car.
Ms. Stull said she would be purchasing outfits for each of the children to wear.
“Anna said she wants Domonic to be buried in the casket with his father holding him,” she said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Burger King, 683 W. Market St., Tiffin, OH 44883, is accepting donations to offset costs for funerals and burials. Ms. Angel has been employed there for seven years, said Ms. Boes, who is the store manager.
William Ennis, Jr., Tiffin fire chief, said two firefighters suffered minor injuries when they fell through the floor into the crawl space while attempting to knock down the blaze. No names were released, and the firefighters did not go to the hospital for treatment, the chief said.
When the firefighters broke down the door to the trailer, a smoke alarm could be heard going off, said Jason Vittoria, who lives at mobile home park with his wife, Nancy Williams, the park manager.
The park has had two other fires in the past five years but no fatalities, Ms. Williams said.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” she said. “It’s pretty devastating to a small town like Tiffin, and especially to a small community like we have here.”
About 100 people live in the community, she said. Tiffin is in Seneca County, about 50 miles southeast of Toledo.
“We going to miss seeing them going to the pool,” Ms. Angel’s neighbor Mr. Hummell said. “They would line up behind her from the biggest to the smallest. It was cute how they followed her.”
Another neighbor, Jamie Tyree, said the kids used to come over and ask to play with his two Pomeranians.
“Those kids were sweethearts,” he said.
A small dog also perished in the fire, according to Chief Ennis.
Tim Spradlin, chief of investigation for the state fire marshal, said the blaze is under investigation. He said autopsies would be conducted by the Lucas County coroner.
Contact Tanya Irwin at: email@example.com or at 419-724-6066 or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.