Woman dies in Howland fire

HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – A fire killed 80-year-old Naomi Jean Smith early Wednesday morning in Howland Township.

Crews were called to the home at 7582 Pegotty Drive N.E. about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

When crews arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from the garage area.

Smith’s son, Richard Noble, believed to be in his 50s and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was in the home at the time of the fire.

Naomi Smith was found in a bedroom. She was dead at the scene and transported to Trumbull Memorial Hospital. Noble suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to St. Joseph Health Center. He was later transported to the burn unit in Akron.

The house is a duplex. Renee Bullers and her two sons live in the adjoining unit. She said her side of the building started to fill with smoke as her son Mason was sitting on the couch.

“I asked him what that smell was and he said he had burnt popcorn earlier but it was a long time ago. I went back to my room and it just got too smoky in here. I decided to call 911,” said Bullers.

Bullers said when she went outside smoke was coming from the garage next door. She pounded on the door, but no one answered. Bullers knew her landlord Naomi Jean Smith and her son were home and feared for their safety.

“They were nice people. Her son lived with her. He has Parkinson’s. I always saw him out here walking, and he would knock on the door to see how your day was. He is a very nice guy,” said Bullers.

The Red Cross is helping the Bullers with lodging and supplies while damage to the property is evaluated.

Firefighters on the scene said there were working smoke detectors in the home, and they were sounding when crews arrived.

It was the second residential fire in Howland within eight hours.

A man is now in the Akron Burn Unit being treated for heavy smoke inhalation after a fire at his home at 1025 Westover Drive about 9 p.m. Tuesday. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and flames were coming from the rear of the structure.

Howland Fire Chief James Pantalone said neighbors helped the man to safety and he was in the front yard when fire crews arrived. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Pantalone said no smoke detectors were found inside the home.

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