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Published: Thursday, 12/11/2008

Authorities unable to identify Sylvania Township fire victims


Sylvania Township firefighters hose down burning ruins at the fire on North Centennial Road. Sylvania Township firefighters hose down burning ruins at the fire on North Centennial Road.

Officials investigating a fire in Sylvania Township Wednesday night said they have been unable to identify two women killed in the blaze, which also injured two others.

Neighbors identified those who died in the fire as Elsie Rickey and her daughter, Mary Rickey.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said preliminary autopsy results Thursday indicated two adult women, whose identities she could not confirm, died of smoke inhalation.

Witnesses told emergency personnel that Jodi Rickey, whose age was not available, ran from her burning house at 2523 North Centennial Rd. shortly after 9 p.m. to a neighbor s home seeking help.

She was in critical condition last night in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Her father, Louis Rickey, 77, was in critical condition in Toledo Hospital.

Deputy Chief Thomas Eisel of the township fire department said the cause of the fire was undetermined, but authorities believe it originated in the living room near a fuel oil heating unit.

Mr. Rickey was able to tell first-responders he was attempting to light the oil heater when the fire started.

Chief Eisel said the fuel line that supplied the heater was disconnected, and there was fuel on the floor of the living room, but he said he was unsure at what point the fuel line was disconnected.

We don t know if that s a contributing factor, Deputy Chief Eisel said.

Township authorities and the state fire marshal s office are continuing to investigate.

Chief Eisel there were multiple heaters, including both kerosene and space heaters, throughout the single-family home. There were no working smoke detectors in the home.

The house, built in 1943, had no central heating unit and no smoke detectors. There were small heating units in each room. Some were portable kerosene heaters and others were small electric space heaters, the chief said.

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