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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2013

Smoke cited in pair’s death

E. Toledo fire cause uncertain

A deadly fire in East Toledo apparently began on the first floor in a living room hallway on Saturday. A deadly fire in East Toledo apparently began on the first floor in a living room hallway on Saturday.
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An elderly couple found dead inside a burning East Toledo home this weekend appeared to have died of smoke inhalation, autopsies performed Monday show.

An official ruling on the deaths of Helen and Joe Rogowski, 78 and 84 respectively, will not be made until toxicology reports are completed, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, the Lucas County deputy coroner who conducted the autopsies.

Toxicology reports usually take six to eight weeks to complete. The doctor said there were no signs of trauma.

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

Fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said Monday the cause was “being listed undetermined at this point.” It appears to have started on the first floor in a living room hallway, he said. The couple was found in the same general area of the house, but they 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, and that the fire spread up walls to the second floor.

The home did not have smoke alarms, the lieutenant said. He said all residences in Toledo are required to have working alarms and that residents can get the devices free at any Toledo fire station.

Including the weekend fatalities, four fire-related deaths were recorded in Toledo this year.

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