Akron fire: 8-year-old girl killed is identified, remembered as ‘full of joy’

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Fire investigators Tuesday were called to the scene of a house fire in Akron that killed an 8-year-old girl who has been identified.

Around 4:15 a.m., Akron firefighters were called to a duplex in the 2220 block of 18th Street Southwest.

Flames and smoke were showing from the home when firefighters arrived, and there were still people inside the house.

The spokesperson for the Akron Fire Department, Lt. Sierjie Lash says there were six total residents in both sides of the home when the fire started.

The child, identified as Roniah Boswell Bartee from Barberton, had burns from the fire and was taken to the hospital where she died.

Lt. Lash says a firefighter was burned.

He was treated and is now resting at home.

Investigators will be on the scene for some time Tuesday working to determine a cause.

They say the fire may have started downstairs.

The Akron Fire Department reports the scene is an active investigation.

They say they don’t know if there was a working smoke detector in the home.

“Any time we have a tragedy of this measure all of our firefighters think twice and they always consider the family,” Lt. Lash said.

Roniah attended Akron Preparatory Schools. The principal says they are grieving a loss:

“She was a bright, beautiful young lady full of joy in life. She loved school. As a community, we will be mourning this loss along with the family. We are making arrangements for on-site grief counseling and other services to emotionally support students and staff at this time.”

Ashley Miles, Principal, Akron Preparatory School

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