Investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into what caused a fatal house fire in DeGraff, but a report from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office reveals the cause could’ve been a stove that was left on.
The Sheriff’s Office named the victim of the fire as 72-year-old Sharon Lease, who lived in the house on North Koke Street.
The blaze broke out just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday. According to a report, Lease’s daughter and great-granddaughter left the home to go to Family Dollar, which is a short distance away.
Less than 30 minutes later, the daughter told deputies they found the house engulfed in flames. The daughter also told the sheriff’s office that before the two left for the store, she was making chicken wings and it was possible she left the stove or oven on.
The sheriff’s office says the daughter and great-granddaughter tried to go in the house to save Lease, but the smoke overwhelmed them and they called for help.
The daughter told deputies she lived with Lease and took care of her. She said Lease was basically immobile and in poor health.
Betty Mangles, who lives across the street, also said Lease was sick, but said she was a very sweet woman.
Mangles noticed the fire when she heard what sounded like a “bang” from a car. She now believes that noise to be the explosion of oxygen tanks inside the home.
She said firefighters were in her neighborhood for hours, pushing back the flames and smoke. Mangles said she knew last night that the house was completely destroyed.
“That house is gone. You can’t save it. They lost everything,” she said.
Doug Smith, who lives next to the house where the fire broke out, wasn’t home at the time, but said his brother saw the flames and frantically rushed to get everything out of Smith’s garage, which is less than five feet away from the home.
“I just booked home to see the neighbor’s house — gone,” Smith said. “When I heard she was inside, it was pretty heart-wrenching. These are two old houses in DeGraff. They’re all wood houses. So in a matter of time, they could’ve went up like that.”
The official cause of the fire remains under investigation as of Wednesday evening.
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