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FATAL FIRE - 18-year-old Ashtabula man dies


By:  Star Beacon - Stacy Millberg

ASHTABULA — An 18-year-old Ashtabula man was killed in an early morning fire on Dunsmore Avenue Tuesday.

Ashtabula firefighters were called to 4908 Dunsmore Ave. at about 3 a.m. where the victim, Nicholas A. (Maciulewicz) DeFranco, was trapped in the basement of the one-story duplex home, said Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office Chief Investigator Rich Mongell. Firefighters immediately advanced a hose line to the basement to search for him.

DeFranco was found in the laundry room. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:21 a.m., Mongell said. An autopsy was performed by the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office Tuesday. Preliminary results determined the victim died of smoke inhalation, he said.

“His carbon monoxide level was 79 percent, which is really high,” Mongell said.

Two other residents of the home, whose names are not being released, were transported to Ashtabula County Medical Center for treatment. One firefighter was slightly injured when he fell on the snow and ice covered road, said Ashtabula Fire Chief Ron Pristera. His name is also not being released.

The fire is believed to have started in the basement, where DeFranco was living, Pristera said.

Ashtabula Township Fire Department responded as mutual aid as well as Community Care Ambulance Network.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ashtabula Fire Department fire marshal, the Ashtabula Police Department and the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office.

“This one could take a while,” Pristera said. “We’re trying to make sure we get everything straight.”

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