CANTON, Ohio — Jackson Township Fire Department officials have confirmed with 3News that four people have died following a house fire in the early morning hours of Sunday.
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The Stark County Coroner's Office told 3News that two adults and two children passed away in the fire. The four have been identified as Jeff and Talina Hawk (adults) and children Javen and Amelia Hawk.
Officials say that at around 12:16 a.m. on Sunday, Jackson Township Fire received reports of a "whole house engulfed in flames" off of Everhard Road Northwest.
Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters discovered heavy smoke coming from a single-family, bi-level home.
"Firefighters attempted an offensive fire attack but due to the rapid involvement of fire prior to arrival, had quickly transitioned to protecting nearby homes," said Jackson Township Fire Department officials on Facebook.
Jackson Township Fire Chief Tim Berczik also said that three pets died during the fire.
"All indications are they (the Hawk family) were trying to exit the dwelling," Berczik told 3News. "Ninety percent of the dwelling was consumed with fire. We can usually tell the origin, maybe not always the exact cause, but there was such a high volume of damage that we can't even tell you a specific area where it (the fire) started."
The Jackson Township Fire Department was assisted on scene by the Jackson Township Police Department, Perry Township Fire, Plain Township Fire, the Stark County Coroner's Office and investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office.
A spokesperson for the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office told 3News on Monday that the investigation into the fire is ongoing and no cause has been determined as of yet.
Also on Monday, Jackson Local School Superintendent Chris DiLoreto put out the following statement about the deaths of students Amelia and Javen Hawk.
"Our staff and students at Jackson Memorial Middle School are mourning the loss of two students and their parents. Relationships between our staff, our students, and our families are the very core of the foundation for building a strong educational partnership. Ameila Hawk was a seventh-grader and her brother, Javen, was a sixth-grader. Both Ameila and Javen had infectious smiles. They were loved by their classmates and they will be greatly missed at JMMS.
We know many of our students and staff will have varying reactions to this tragedy. Anyone wanting support will have it available through our counselors. We are grateful to our mental health providers in Stark County for their support during this time. Parents, please contact the school office during normal school hours if you feel your child is in need of additional assistance."
Josh May lives on a street behind where the fire took place, but he could see the flames from his house. "It just grew so fast and the whole house burned down within a matter of minutes," he told 3News. "When the fire was really going, I'm pretty far away from their house, but you could feel the heat come off their house to my house through the window. It was so intense."
A GoFundMe to assist the Hawk family has been established. Click here for more.
"They were a good family," May addded. "They were just good people."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on March 25, 2023, in an unrelated story.