Baby's Passing Raises Death Toll In Fire To 6

BREWSTER, Ohio - A fifth child died following a New Year's Day house fire, raising the blaze's death toll to six.

Eighteen-month-old Bryce Kahrig died in Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron on Thursday night, a nursing supervisor said.

Volunteer firefighter Chris Kahrig lost his wife and five of his six children in the blaze.

Dixie Kahrig, 28, who was seven-months pregnant, died Tuesday along with Alyssa, 7, and Zachery, 5. Keyawnu, 3, and Dawson, 2, died Wednesday at Children's Hospital.

The Kahrigs' 12-year-old son, Corey, was not home at the time of the fire.

Chris Kahrig, 32, was awakened by a smoke alarm around 11 a.m. Tuesday and told his wife to take the children into a room.

He struggled through smoke and heat and reached the two-story house's only phone.

Dixie gathered the children and huddled in a bathroom upstairs, plugging wet towels under the door. Intense smoke and heat kept her husband and neighbors from getting upstairs to reach them.

The fire may have started in the living room from an electrical short, assistant Fire Chief Dale Starcher said, possibly involving Christmas tree lights or the outlet.

The investigation could take a few weeks, a spokesman for the state fire marshal's office said.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Chris' wife and his five children. The family will all be remembered together with calling hours being held on Monday and a funeral on Tuesday in Canton.

Many people in the communities surrounding Brewster are raising money for the grieving family. Donations can be sent to the Brewster Fire Association at the following address:

  • Brewster Fire Association
    110 East Main Street
    Brewster, Ohio 44613

(Copyright 2001 WorldNow. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)