With power cut off, lantern ignites fatal fire

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) - A lantern being used for light and heat because the electricity had been shut off by the utility company apparently ignited a house fire that killed a man.

A preliminary investigation said the lantern that Ernest Anderson, 52, of Massillon, was using apparently started the fire in the kitchen of his home early Wednesday.

Family members told investigators the family dog could have tipped over the lantern.

Anderson's wife, Vickie, 48, and their two children were on the first floor of the two-story house and escaped. Ernest Anderson was trapped on the second floor.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Ellen Raines called the incident tragic.

"Our sympathies go out to the family," said Raines, who confirmed that the home's power was cut off Tuesday over unpaid bills.

Raines cited customer confidentiality and declined to elaborate.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)