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An early morning fire killed seven people in a home a block from where two others were killed last year in a fire investigated as a possible arson.
The Akron fire chief would not say how many of the dead in yesterday's fire were adults or children, but news outlets reported it was two adults and five children. Chief Clarence Tucker said outside the home in Akron, 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Cleveland, that investigators couldn't determine yesterday whether there were working smoke detectors in the home.
Neighbours and a relative said there were children inside the home, where the fire was reported shortly before 3 AM. A fire department spokeswoman said the bodies will be identified by the Summit County coroner's office through dental records.
The house sat at the top of a winding street in a neighbourhood of mostly two-story clapboard houses. A tree next to the house was half-scorched. A neighbour said firefighters woke him up and he tossed his dogs out a window because he thought his house was on fire.
The Akron Fire Department is working with the state fire marshal's office and local police to determine the cause of the blaze, Tucker said. A fire marshal's official said investigators used a dog while collecting evidence but wouldn't say what that evidence was.
The fire occurred a block from a home where a man and a woman died in an April 2016 fire that investigators looked at as maybe arson.
Mayor Daniel Horrigan extended his sympathies to the families of those who died yesterday.
"We will see to it that the victims' families are supported this time of great sorry and need," Horrigan said in a statement.