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Investigators seek answers to fire that killed child

A 10-year-old died in a house fire in the Bradrick area of Chesapeake Wednesday morning.

Johnathan Fralic died in the blaze on County Road 3.

Firefighters arrived at the residence before 8 a.m., at which time the structure was completely engulfed in flames and the child was trapped inside, Ed Webb of the Chesapeake/Union Volunteer Fire Department, said.

Webb said the boy’s mother was also in the house at the time of the fire. The mother, Rita Fralic, was taken to a hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

The boy’s father had been notified, he said.

Several volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze including Chesapeake/Union Township, Fayette Township Fire District No. 1 and 2, Proctorville, and Ohio River Road.

Webb said crews had to haul water to the scene because there are no fire hydrants on the road. At one point crews faced low water pressure, which contributed to problems.

“We did the best we could with what we had,” Webb said.

The volunteer crews also had to deal with icy road conditions, which posed a challenge.

“When we left our houses this morning we had the same road conditions as everyone else,” Webb said.

Firefighters were able to save a dog that was pulled from the structure. The animal was taken to an animal hospital.

The fire started on the second story of the residence in an area near an auxiliary natural gas heater. The Ohio State Fire Marshal has not confirmed that the heater was the cause of the fire, SFM spokesman Shane Cartmill said.

Investigators were still on the scene of the fire conducting interviews with witnesses and first responders as of Wednesday afternoon.

The cause of the fire has not been determined and at this time accidental or intentional causes have not been ruled out, Cartmill said.

The fire damaged Verizon phone lines, causing a phone service outage in parts or entire sections of Bradrick, Chesapeake, Union Township, Proctorville, Rome Township and Athalia.

A Verizon spokesperson said phone service restoration began Wednesday and full restoration was completed Wednesday night.

Phone service in Bradrick, Proctorville, Rome Township, Athalia and Union Township began working between 4:30 and 5 p.m.