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Authorities: Elderly couple dies in fire due to illegal fireworks

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ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating after the illegal use of fireworks led to a fire that killed two people early Saturday.

Witnesses called 911 around 1:30 a.m. reporting that a home in the 100 block of Zola Drive in Rome Township, was on fire. They said a man came out of the home, but then went back into the house to rescue his bedridden wife.

Both the husband and the wife, both in their 70s, died in the fire.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office says the suspected cause of the fire is the illegal use of fireworks in the area. Investigators believe hot embers from illegal aerial fireworks fell into combustible material next to the back of the couple’s home.

Debris from the fireworks has been found in the neighborhood and more evidence is being collected, according to investigators.

“Fireworks can be dangerous if you are not trained to properly set them off,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. “Only licensed professionals should be setting off fireworks.  There is great risk not only to yourself, but as in this case, to others around you.”

The fire is being handled as a criminal investigation.