Investigators zero in on cause of fatal Mecca house fire

Staff report


The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office has ruled the cause of death of Marjorie Fitch, 75, as undetermined pending further studies.

She died Monday afternoon in a 12:44 p.m. fire at her house at 7197 Phillips-Rice Road in Mecca Township.

Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, county coroner, said there is no evidence of foul play, and it appears she died of smoke inhalation, but he will wait to rule on the manner of death until after the fire marshal’s office completes its report.

Matt Balut, chief of the county Fire Investigative Unit, said Fitch, who was unable to walk because of medical conditions, was in the living room of the home when the fire began.

Her daughter smelled smoke and saw the fire in the bedroom, then called her ex-husband, who was across the street. She and her ex-husband tried to get Fitch out but were unable to, Balut said.

The home was heated by a wood-burning stove in the living room, Balut said, but he declined to speculate on whether the wood-burner contributed to the fire.

Michael Duchesne, spokesman for the fire marshal’s office, said the cause of the fire is undetermined, but investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the fire began as a result of an “electrical event.”

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