2 dead in early morning house fire - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

ARSON: Questions remain after victims ID'd in deadly Akron house fire

Fire ruled arson at Akron home. (Source: WOIO) Fire ruled arson at Akron home. (Source: WOIO)
2 people killed in house fire. (Source: WOIO) 2 people killed in house fire. (Source: WOIO)
2 people killed in early morning house fire. (Source: WOIO) 2 people killed in early morning house fire. (Source: WOIO)
One person escaped. (Source: WOIO) One person escaped. (Source: WOIO)
the victims were found in an upstairs bathroom. (Source: WOIO) the victims were found in an upstairs bathroom. (Source: WOIO)

The fire caught on cell phone video took only minutes to claim the lives of two in Akron. Both 65-year-old Lindell Lewis and his girlfriend Gloria Hart, 66, both died from smoke inhalation. Both were found dead in an upstairs bathroom.

According to the Akron Fire Department the fire started just after 3:30 a.m. on Fultz Avenue. 

60-year-old Thomas Hugley was able to get out of the house alive. Their neighbor Sue came from her house after hearing an explosion.

She says, "I saw the breaker boxes popping... you see the sparks and everything."

Sue's son tells us, "They were telling the one dude who was on the second floor to jump and he couldn't jump cause he just had hip surgery or hip replacement surgery."

"It was just too dangerous to fight inside. When the first arriving companies came on scene, it was fully involved that's when they started a defensive attack and after they were able to knock it down that's when they went in and found the victims," said Michael Brooks, Akron firefighter.  

 There are arson signs posted by officials on the front porch of the house, it didn't take investigators very long to figure out somebody set this fire on purpose.

Cleveland 19 News wants to know why would anybody start a fire at a house full of senior citizens?

We did some digging and the last time police were called to the home was back in 2013 for vandalism to a vehicle.

A possible dispute with a neighbor?

People who live nearby tell Cleveland 19 all three were in the house were friendly.

Neighbor Keith Johnson says in recent months the house became a haven for those who didn't have a permanent roof over their heads.

Johnson adds, "There was a lot of traffic. There was a lot of old people who live there. A lot of homeless people coming in and out of there."

There were no working smoking detectors, according to the homeowner. 

The Akron Fire Department says it has a new partnership with the American Red Cross this year to offer free smoke detectors to anyone who resides in the city.

It’s called “Operation Save A Life” and the hotline number is (330) 535-2030.

The fire department will come to your home and install smoke detectors with a 10-year battery on every level.

Last year, the Akron Fire Department was able to install thousands of smoke detectors in more than 500 homes through a grant they received.

Cleveland offers the same program, although it is for elderly and low-income residents. 

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