UNION CO., OH (WCMH) — A woman died Tuesday morning after being taken out of a burning house in Richwood.
Firefighters who showed up to North Clinton Street just after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday found an unresponsive woman lying on a couch on the first floor of the house, according to Chief Randy Riffle of the Northern Union County Joint Fire and EMS.
The woman, identified as 73-year-old Judith Sadler, was taken to a Marysville hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
When Bethany Rankin, a neighbor, took her dog out early Tuesday morning, she said she thought she smelled smoke.
“Just a gentle smell of smoke, enough that I thought it was a woodburner,” Rankin said.
When she returned to her house, Rankin said she checked each room to be sure her own home wasn’t on fire. Then, she got back in bed.
”My daughter came in the room and said, ‘Mom, something is on fire.’ And she ran straight to the window and looked out,” Rankin said.
According to Northern Union County Joint Fire and E-M-S, a neighbor called to report the fire about 1:30am. Inside the house, firefighters found the Sadler unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at a hospital in Marysville.
While the fire chief said the cause was still under investigation, firefighters had to deal with a ruptured gas line in the basement that prevented them from fighting the fire until the gas was shut off.
Columbia Gas of Ohio released a statement offering condolences to the victim’s family and stated that workers turned off service to the house. The statement also indicated tests run on service and main lines in the area and to the property appeared to be normal.
Rankin said she didn’t know the woman who died personally but knew she was well-liked in the community.
“We’re a small community and we’re all very close,” Rankin said.
She said Sadler, who she believed lived alone, had family living nearby.
“Our heart just goes out to them, our prayers go up, and we just hurt with them,” Rankin said. “Our heart’s in a million pieces for them.”