‘It was a difficult battle:’ Officials still investigating cause of Akron fire that killed 7

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AKRON, Ohio -- Police confirm that five children and two adults were killed in an early morning house fire in Akron.

The fire broke out at 693 Fultz Street around 2:45 a.m. Monday.

Neighbors say a family lived in the home. Family members earlier Monday morning told Fox 8 that the mother did not show up to work today, and the children also didn't show up at school.

The victims' names have not yet been released.

Firefighters believe the fire started at the front of the house. A cause isn't yet known.

Fire Chief Clarence Tucker said during a press conference Monday that with a fire this severe "you can't rule out the possibility of arson."

The State Fire Marshal's office has collected evidence from the scene of the fire and also had a K9 officer assist.

Due to the severity of the damage, it's not yet clear if there were smoke detectors in the home.

Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan released the following statement about the fire Monday:

"Early this morning the Akron Fire Department responded to a house fire in the 600 block of Fultz Street. The Fire Department acted quickly to extinguish the flames, but were unable to immediately access the upper level of the structure due to significant, internal structural damage. Tragically, multiple lives were lost in the fire. The Fire Department is on scene for ongoing recovery, investigation, and safety efforts.

“My family, the Akron Fire Department, and the entire Akron community, are profoundly saddened by this devastating incident and this tragic loss of life. My deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family and loved ones of those who perished, and we pray for strength and healing in the difficult days to come. We will see to it that the victims' families are supported in this time of great sorrow and need.

I thank the Akron Fire Department for their bravery in quickly responding to this scene in the early hours of the morning. I offer my full support and confidence as the professionals work to investigate the cause of this fire.”

Stick with Fox 8 and Fox8.com for more.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:07 pm

Authorities: We can confirm 7 fatalities

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:07 pm

Fire Chief Clarence Tucker: With a fire this severe, you can’t rule out the possibility of arson, but there are investigators at the scene. 

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:08 pm

Authorities: It was a difficult battle, but we were able to get it under control after 45 minutes.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:08 pm

Fire Chief Clarence Tucker: Anytime you have a fire where people perish…it affects the entire community.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:09 pm

This is not the deadliest fire in Akron’s history — there was a prior fire that killed seven in the city before. 

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:10 pm

Tucker says it’s not clear if there were any smoke detectors due to the severity of the fire.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:11 pm

Robert Sharp, with State Fire Marshal’s Office: We’ve collected evidence, and brought in a K9 unit.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:11 pm

Sharp: At this point, it’s an ongoing investigation.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:13 pm

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan: You don’t prepare for things like these.

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:14 pm

Tucker: Supportive services will be provided to the firefighters who were at the scene as is standard practice. 

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:14 pm

Tucker says it’s not yet clear where the victims’ bodies were located. 

Darcie Loreno May 15, 20171:16 pm

Press conference concludes