Child dies in Ashland fire
Ashland fire officials are investigating the cause of a house fire that killed a 5-year-old boy Friday.
Officials say the body of Skyler Sovine was found in an upstairs bedroom after firefighters put out a fast-spreading, smoky fire at 1225 Ashland County Road 1153, next to Mitchell and Sons Moving and Storage outside the western city limits.
Ashland fire prevention Capt. Tom Smith said the fire started in the front part of the home in a room that contained several computers and appeared to be used for crafts. He said there was "tremendous" heat damage throughout because the home was of an old-style "balloon" construction with a lot of beams, hidden spaces and cellulose insulation.
The home is owned by Frank and Sue Goschinski, who have rented it to Bill and Sandy Castle for about two years. The Goschinskis said the Castles' daughter, Skyler and an older son moved in several months ago.
Sue Goschinski said she called 9-1-1 after a secretary at the family-owned moving and storage business returned from lunch just before 12:30 and said it looked like there was a fire. Goschinski went next door, found Bill Castle sitting in the grass, asked him if anyone was inside and was told the little boy was.
"We tried to go in, but the smoke was too bad," she said. "There was just smoke everywhere, and I could hear glass blowing out. It went so fast it was unbelievable."
Goschinski said she and others kept calling for Skyler, thinking he might come to an upstairs window. She praised firefighters for their efforts.
Goschinski said other family members were at work and school when the fire started.
Family members sat or stood in shock across the street while firefighters put out the blaze and later searched for Skyler's body, which was sent out of county for an autopsy. Ashland County Coroner William Emery said he could have preliminary results today.
The Ashland County American Red Cross is helping the family with shelter, food and clothes.
Ashland Fire Department Capt. Rick Anderson said the first floor was burning intensely, with flames rolling up to the second floor when firefighters arrived. He said firefighters made no progress fighting the blaze from the back and attacked it from the front.
It took about 30 minutes for personnel and equipment from Ashland, Ashland County, Mifflin, Richland, Savannah, Nankin and Polk-Jackson-Perry fire departments to control the fire. Three Ashland firefighters sustained minor injuries -- including a sprained ankle, dehydration and a minor burn.
Officials estimated the property loss in the fire at $50,000 for the structure and $25,000 for contents.
Sue Goschinski said the fire reminded her of how every family needs to have a fire escape plan and review it periodically. "We have 11 grandkids and three of them are 5 years old, so it was scary," she said. "We're definitely going to have some drills."