Autopsies show elderly East Toledo couple died of smoke inhalation


An elderly couple found dead inside a burning East Toledo home on Saturday appear to have died of smoke inhalation, autopsies show.

The autopsies on Helen and Joe Rogowski, 78 and 84 respectively, were performed today by Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser.

An official ruling on the cause of death will not be made until toxicology reports are completed, Dr. Beisser said.

The doctor said there were no signs of trauma on either victim.

The fire at their home, 458 Fassett St., was reported by a passer-by at 1:17 p.m.

Fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said today that the cause of the fire is “being listed undetermined at this point.”

The fire appears to have started on the first floor in a living room hallway, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.

The couple was found in the same general area of the house, but the two were not together, Dr. Beisser said.

Fire officials estimated damage to the two-story home at $25,000.

Lieutenant Hertzfeld said there was “significant fire damage” to the first floor of the home, and that it did spread up walls to the second floor.

The home did not have working smoke alarms, the lieutenant said.

He stressed that all residences in Toledo are required to have working alarms and that any city resident can get the devices for free at any Toledo fire station.

Including the weekend fatalities, there have been four fire-related deaths in Toledo this year.