3 killed in Licking County house fire identified

Local News

LICKING COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Three people lost their lives after a fire broke out at a home Tuesday morning.

Crews responded to a call reporting the fire at a house in the 5700 block of Cristland Hill Road at 10:19 a.m.; they contained the fire around 11:08.

The fire appears to have started in the kitchen and spread from there.

Three people — two adults and a child — died in the fire. Neighbors said a man in his 70s lived there with his girlfriend and her young grandson.

Wednesday, the victims were identified as 72-year-old Dennis Erckert, 49-year-old Kelly Waters and 6-year-old Jeremiah Rutter.

The fire marshal’s office said the residence only had one smoke alarm, and the battery was removed.

One neighbor said that once she saw the fire, it was too late to try to get to the house.

“I wish I would have noticed it sooner,” said neighbor Rhonda Marquart. “I feel real bad, especially for the little boy”

Investigators said that while they do not have an exact cause for the fire yet, it does not appear to be suspicious.

A second fatal fire was reported Tuesday morning. In Warsaw, three children lost their lives and one was injured after a barn caught fire and collapsed.

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