JEROMESVILLE, Ohio– A frantic 911 call from a neighbor to firefighters in a rural Ashland County community described a father trying to get his children out of a burning home.
Before the first firefighters arrived, the house was already engulfed in flame.
“Upon arrival, the structure was fully involved and there were reports on the scene of possibly three occupants still inside,” said Assistant Jeromesville Fire Chief John Cutlip.
Six tankers from multiple departments responded to help. The firefighters battled the blaze for more than an hour.
Three children, ages 2, 4 and 12, were not able to make it out. Two adults and 13-year-old Brayden Mcie escaped.
Brayden was asleep on the first floor when he was awakened shortly after he went to bed.
“I was pretty much cleaning my room and all that, and then I fell asleep. And ended up where I heard like someone outside yelling or I heard a noise. And then I got up and I saw smoke and all that,” Brayden said.
“I stepped out of my room and I looked to the right, and I saw flashes on the porch and stuff like that. I didn’t know what it was at first and that’s when I went out because I saw the back door open where my room is and went around and I saw like the fire on the porch,” he said.
Brayden said he tried convincing his 12-year-old sister, Faithlyn Bogavich, to get out of the home, but her bedroom was just above the burning front porch.
“I got outside and I saw the fire and I started yelling. So I said Faithlyn, you have got to get out of there. And the only thing I heard her say was that she can’t,” he told Fox 8 News.
The two adults who lived at the home had custody of Brayden and his sister,
Their mother, Sonja Mcie-Cobb, was awakened at 3 a.m. at her home by a pounding at her door. Through her grief she was remembering Faithlyn as a loving and happy 12 year old.
“She was just the type of person who could capture anybody’s heart and they would fall in love with her,” said Mcie-Cobb.
Faithlyn attended Hillsdale School where she was a cheerleader and a member of 4-H. Her grandmother said she loved the outdoors and was fond of caring for stray animals.
“She loves gardening, she took every stray animal in that there was around,” said Melody Mcie.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The Division of State Fire Marshal, as well as Ashland County Sheriff’s Office and the county coroner were among the agencies investigating.
Brayden told FOX 8 News there were flammable materials on the front porch, including a grill with a propane tank. He said he believes he heard it explode at one point, the flames shooting high above the two-story home
Several efforts to help the families of the victims were underway on social media on Monday, including a group called Hillsdale Cares, which works with local churches to collect donations for those who have suffered a loss.
Mcie-Cobb said her son does not have any clothes other than those he was wearing at the time.
“This is something that you hope never happens. I can’t state on how everybody deals with it, everybody deals with it a little differently,” Cutlip said.
Firefighters and first responders were given the opportunity Monday evening to meet with members of the department’s critical stress debriefing team.
“Its been very difficult for firemen. It’s been several years, probably in the 70s since we have had a fire here at the Jeromesville Fire Department so very sobering,” said Jeromesville Fire Chief Todd Elliott.