Coroner: Youngstown fire victims died of smoke inhalation

corinne gump was the victim of a Youngstown house fire
Corinne Gump

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The specialized dogs Youngstown Fire Department use to sniff out fire-spreading chemicals found none on Tuesday at the scene of a fire that killed three people early Monday morning.

Mahoning County forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Ohr ruled Tuesday afternoon that the three victims killed in a house fire Monday morning on Powers Way all died of smoke inhalation.

Bill Schmidt, 63, was found in a bedroom. His wife, Judy Schmidt, 61, and their 10-year-old granddaughter, Corrine Gump, were found in another bedroom. WKBN waited until Tuesday to name Gump out of respect for her family and the South Range School District, where she was a student.

Ohr said that he will not rule on the manner of death until he gets the report from the fire investigator.

Earlier in the day, investigators used a small chainsaw to cut up pieces of material removed from the Powers Way home that was destroyed by the fire. WKBN’s news team saw evidence being marked and taken away in bags.

Investigators said it will be preserved for later use and could be analyzed by a lab if necessary. A crime scene investigator with the Youngstown Police Department, as well as an insurance representative, both took pictures of the home.

The Youngstown Fire Department and Ohio State Fire Marshal are working together on the investigation. Youngstown arson unit investigator Capt. Alvin Ware said the fire started in the basement, but the cause is still unknown.

While the investigation continues, so does the community’s support with a memorial on the home’s front lawn. Neighbors placed stuffed animals, flowers and even candles, that, despite the rain, kept burning in the victims’ memories.

“It is Easter time and these kids are, everybody is dropping off stuff at the house because the street is blocked off,” neighbor David Rowbotham said.

Jim Moody, who also lives down the street, stopped by after work to help with the memorial.

“I just came up to give my condolences. I have three young kids myself. Something like that, just hits at a parent’s heart,” Moody said.

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