Deadly Ohio House Fire Blamed on Cigarette

A house fire that claimed the lives of two young brothers was started by a cigarette that was discarded near a chair, Akron fire officials said Thursday.

Fire Lt. Al Bragg said the April 25 fire on Victory Street in South Akron was accidental.

The fire began shortly before 8 a.m. in the front room of the home as the family living in the residence slept.

Brothers Trent Meador, 2, and Tyler Meeker, 7 months, died shortly after being pulled from a smoke-filled upstairs bedroom. Their father, Duane Meeker, 21, climbed through an upstairs window so he and the boys could escape the fire, but he couldn't find the children in the thick smoke when he reached back for them.

He yelled to neighbors that his sons were still inside and for them call 911.

The boys' mother, Melinda Meeker, 20, was able to rush out of the front of the house in time. The woman, who is pregnant, discovered the fire after being awakened by the smoke alarm and rushing downstairs to see what was wrong. After discovering the fire, she screamed upstairs to her family to leave the house.

Firefighters arrived within minutes of being called and managed to get into the house to remove Trent and Tyler. But the brothers couldn't be saved once they reached Akron Children's Hospital.

The children were pronounced dead a minute apart in the emergency room.

Although autopsies have been done, investigators with the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office have not made a ruling concerning their deaths.

Distributed by the Associated Press