Fire chief: Elderly man in wheelchair and dog killed in early morning fire

WILLOWICK, Ohio - Investigators with the Willowick Fire Department and Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal are investigating an early morning fire believed to have killed an elderly man and his dog.

The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. at a house on E. 326th St.

Chief Robert Posipanka, Willowick Fire Department, said that victim was believed to be the man who lived in the house. According to neighbors, he was in a wheelchair. Posipanka said the man had not been positively identified. The Lake County Coroner was called to the scene.

Posipanka said officers from the Willowick Police Department attempted to rescue the man before firefighters arrived, but were unable to make entry into the home.

"Police were first on scene," Posipanka said. "They attempted to make entry. I believe the fire was in the front and they saw it there, so they attempted to make entry in the side door which was locked."

"Our investigators are on site right now to try to determine the cause," Posipanka said. "Also, the State Fire Marshal's Office has been contacted. We are waiting to hear back from them."

"We don't know the cause or the origin at this time," he said.

Neighbors told Fox 8 the man's dog was named Twister.