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15-year-old girl killed in Erie County house fire; 2 dogs also die

Officials say the house did not have any working smoke detectors. Two people and five dogs were able to escape.

FLORENCE, Ohio — A 15-year-old girl and two dogs perished in a house fire in Florence Township early Sunday morning, officials confirmed.

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It happened around 7 a.m. in the 11000 block of State Route 113. Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were told at least one person was trapped inside the house, and crews were met with "heavy fire and smoke conditions," a news release said.

"The adrenaline was running," Deputy Josh Miller said of the moments spent searching for the girl, since identified as Rhianne King. "I was trying to get her because from the time the call came in to when I got there was nine minutes, and in nine minutes the house was engulfed in flames."

During their initial attack of the fire, firefighters found Rhianne and pulled her out of the home. She was taken to Mercy Health in Lorain, where she later died.

"Nobody wants to see this," Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth told 3News, adding the conditions made it difficult for any first responders to get inside. "We'll do everything we can — just like was done in this instance — to try to help and to try and find somebody and get them out of there if we can, but it just didn't work out this time.

Additionally, two dogs were found dead inside the home, while seven others were rescued. Two other people who lived at the location were taken to area hospitals for smoke inhalation, and their conditions were not immediately known.

One firefighter sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

With help from the Berlin Township, Vermilion, and Wakeman fire departments, crews were able to put out the fire in less than 30 minutes. The Erie County Sheriff's Office and the Ohio State Fire Marshals are investigating the blaze.

Further details, including the cause of the fire or how much damage the home endured, were not immediately released. However, Florence Township Fire Chief Nick Halliwell says the occupants could've been alerted of the blaze sooner.

"The house didn't have any working smoke detectors," he stated. "[I] can't say enough as to how much the smoke detectors are ... valuable. Everybody should have them in multiple rooms throughout the house."

 A GoFundMe has been set up to help Rhianne's family pay for funeral expenses.

Editor's Note: The following video is from a previous, unrelated report.


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