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Five saved in apartment fire -
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Bula woman killed in fire

By:  Star Beacon - Mark Todd

ASHTABULA — A 56-year-old woman died in a fire inside a two-story Michigan Avenue apartment building early Wednesday morning, firefighters said.

The victim has been identified as Elizabeth Foster, 2158 Michigan Ave., Apt. A-108, said James Baehr, Ashtabula County coroner’s investigator. Tentative cause of death was listed as smoke inhalation, Baehr said.

Foster’s husband was injured in the fire, along with five other people in adjoining units. All were treated at Ashtabula County Medical Center, said Ashtabula Fire Chief Ron Pristera.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Michigan Square Apartments at 3:49 a.m., Pristera said. First-responders saw heavy smoke pouring from units on both floors and learned people were trapped inside, he said.

A search of both floors discovered five people, including three children, in the units.

“Firefighters literally carried them to safety,” Pristera said.

A sixth person jumped from a second-floor window, he said. Victims were taken to ACMC by Community Care ambulance and the Saybrook Fire Department.

Foster was found in a back bedroom of the first-floor apartment, Baehr said. She was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

Foster’s husband, Terry Sr., the only other occupant in the apartment at the time, was treated at ACMC, Baehr said.

Cause of the fire is still under investigation, Pristera said. Assisting the city fire department are the county coroner’s office and the state fire marshal’s office, he said.

An estimated 20 firefighters from Ashtabula and Ashtabula Township fire departments were at the scene and quickly doused the blaze, Pristera said. Many were already on duty because of Tuesday night’s ice storm, he said.

“We had extra assistance (at the scene) because so many off-duty people were working because of the weather,” Pristera said.

Many of the firefighters already had logged several hours of storm duty when the fire call occurred, Pristera said.

“They chased all over town for five hours, then had to fight a fire,” he said. “They did a phenomenal job.”

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