2 die in deadly blaze

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

BURLINGTON — Two people were killed late Saturday in a fire at an apartment complex at 69 Township Road 1026 in Burlington, just off County Road 1.

According to preliminary reports, Kendra Eback, late 20s, and John Lawrence, 17, were killed in the fire. The victims, who were brother and sister, were pronounced dead at the scene by the Lawrence County Coroner’s Office.

The fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. at a three-apartment complex. There is another complex at the site, but it was not damaged. Burlington Fire Chief Ryan Vaughn said the victims were found in Apt. 6.

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Lawrence was initially dragged from the apartment by a passerby who was reportedly a local firefighter, Vaughn said. Lawrence chose to go back inside to help his sister, he said, but was killed when he did so. The passerby was injured while attempting to save Lawrence. He was taken to a local hospital with smoke inhalation.

After beginning in Apt. 6, the blaze then spread to the other apartments at the site. Vaughn said fire crews helped at least one victim, possibly more, who were trapped in Apt. 4. There was no one in Apt. 5 at the time of the fire. An unknown number of victims were treated at the site for minor injuries.

Vaughn said the efforts of his fire crews as well as those of the Chesapeake-Union Township Volunteer Fire Department, which assisted, were hampered by a number of occupants and their family members who went back into the burning building in attempts to save others and their belongings. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office was called in to help control the situation.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal investigated the scene Sunday and is expected to release a report today on the cause of the fire. Vaughn said the fire appears to be accidental and there is no indication of foul play.

Vaughn said there has only been one other fatal fire incident in the Burlington area in recent years. In March 2005, three people died after a plane crash and the resulting fire at the Lawrence County Airpark.