Community mourns loss of family in horrible fire - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Community mourns loss of family in horrible fire

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A small community in Seneca County is mourning the loss of a family of five after Tuesday's fatal fire.

A truck driver spotted the flames around 3 a.m. on Tuesday on Township Road 124 in Reed Township. When firefighters arrived the home was engulfed and then the roof collapsed.

The Village of Republic is a tight knit farming town where almost everybody knows each other. The coroner is conducting the autopsies and has not yet released official identification.

But the home that burned is the Hamilton family home. For the community, the loss is devastating.

On Wednesday crews hauled away a backhoe. The excavator was used Tuesday to clear through the rubble. What remains is a pile of charred remnants from the old farmhouse where firefighters discovered five bodies.

"When my wife told me told me to look out that window yesterday morning, I told her I said, 'This ain't good,'" says Steve Bogner who lives next door to the Hamilton family home on Township Road 124 in Reed Township.

He and school officials say Joe Hamilton lived there with his wife Holly as well as three kids: 6-year-old Linkin, 8-year-old Jaxon, and 12-year-old Olivia.

Bogner says Joe would often stop by on his way home from work and talk about their dogs. Bogner has Shadow and he says Joe had a lab.

"Course we'd always just talk about the dogs mostly, but he was always real friendly, always waved to us. His wife, too," says Bogner.

"It's like horrible, horrible. My heart just ... we're going to try to do something for the family," says Patty Mattson.  Mattson lives four miles down the road from the Hamiltons.  She and her husband also own Fatheads Restaurant on Washington Street in the Village of Republic.

Mattson sent pizzas to the firefighters on scene yesterday.

"My husband knew the man, said he talked to him often. Nice guy. Ya, it's just tough," says Mattson.

"It was a shock to everybody. It is a very tragic and sad situation,"says Pastor Darla Metz of the United Church of Christ on Madison Street in Republic.

She didn't know the Hamiltons, but everyone in town is feeling the loss.

 

"It's just a great sadness and our hearts go out to the family and the friends and the teachers and the EMS and the fire department that were there to help them. We're praying for all of them," says Metz.

 

The State Fire Marshall's Office is done on the scene. However, the investigation continues into where inside the home the fire started and what sparked it.

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