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A mother and two sons perish in Ashtabula house fire


The three victims found in second-floor bedroom

William A. West

ASHTABULA_A mother and two sons perished in a house fire Tuesday morning at 5535 Washington Ave. in Ashtabula. Kelly Estep, 36, and sons Frankie Wlotzko Jr, 4, and Zander Wlotzko, 3, were declared dead at the scene by investigators from the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office. 

AshtabulaCurrent / Kat Loveland
Three people perished in a house fire Tuesday morning at 5535 Washington Ave. in Ashtabula.

  “Ashtabula Fire received the call at 10:41 a.m.,” Ashtabula Fire Capt. Jeff Gianantonio said. “The fire started in an upstairs bedroom. We extinguished it very quickly.” 

  Gianantonio said that Etep’s 10-year-old daughter yelled to her mother to get the boys out.  The 10-year-old is credited with saving three of her siblings.

Estep’s body and the bodies of the young brothers were found on the bedroom floor upstairs Gianantonio said.

  Five on-duty firefighters, Chief Shawn Gruber and a fire marshal responded to the scene. 

Chief Gruber told the Star Beacon that he and a firefighter arrived on the scene in their vehicles and ran upstairs, but “we could not get into the fire room.”

   The Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office sent two investigators and they arrived at the scene about 11: 15 a.m. Coroner’s Investigator Tom Despenes said. Ashtabula Fire remained on the scene past 1 p.m. Gianantonio said. State Fire Marshal is on the scene trying to determine the cause of the fire.

  The Ashtabula Township Fire responded to the mutual aid call, but the fire was extinguished when they arrived on scene.

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