Undetermined: No cause in last month's deadly Sheffield Township fire
September 1, 2011 at 12:14 AM EST - Updated June 25 at 8:22 AM
SHEFFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO)
Division of State Fire Marshal investigators have ruled the August 31st fatal fire in Sheffield Township as undetermined.
Investigators found no evidence of criminal intent during their examination of the scene or during interviews with family members, witnesses and first responders.
The fire, at 4545 South Broadway, originated on the first floor in the living room.
Michael Maruschak, 36, died as a result of the fire. His brother, Bill Maruschak, 40, was able to escape. He was treated and released from Metro. Bill's 2-year-old son, Allan, was thrown from a second floor window to safety.
A neighbor, Aaron Pettibone, raced over to help during the fire. Pettibone yelled out looking for anyone inside. Bill Maruschak, who was trapped on the second floor, heard his screams and said he had his little boy. Pettibone said, "I told him to he'd have to throw the baby to me."
Investigators said the fire department arrived to a fully involved house fire.
According to State Fire Marshall PIO Shane Cartmill, "Even if the Sheffield Twp. Fire Dept. had been fully staffed when the fire broke, the outcome would remain the same."
Cartmill says that due to the home's construction - what's called a balloon-frame construction - the fire was able to move and hide. The balloon-frame construction - which is not used anymore - has lots of void spaces between the floors and walls.
Firefighters also say they did not hear any smoke alarms and none were found in the debris.
Investigators did say there were several extension cords, box fans and a window air conditioner in use in that room.
While the exact cause could not be pinpointed, investigators could not eliminate an electrical malfunction or the malfunction of one of the electrical devices as a cause of the fire.
The investigation was conducted by the Division of State Fire Marshal, the Lorain County Fire Investigation Unit, the Sheffield Township Fire Department and the Lorain County Sheriff's Office.