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UPDATE: Damages sought from fatal Marietta house fire

(WTAP)
Published: May. 25, 2019 at 11:56 PM EDT
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Update: 2/6/2020

A former Ohio lawmaker is taking American Electric Power to court over his mother's death in a 2019 Marietta fire.

Former state representative Andy Thompson filed the suit in Washington County Common Pleas Court on behalf of his late mother, Elsa.

She died in May, 2019 when fire engulfed her Warren Street home.

The wrongful death suit claims the fire was a result of a downed power line due to a thunderstorm that had happened earlier in the day.

It adds AEP power crews failed to timely respond to reports of the downed line, and that the line was not properly installed and maintained.

Elsa Thompson and her husband were the long-time owner and publisher of the newsletter "Bird Watchers Digest."

The suit seeks $25,000 plus court and attorneys costs.


UPDATE: 5/31/19

A spokesperson with the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire started in a first-floor addition on the rear of the home.

However, the investigation into what started the fire is still ongoing.

UPDATE 5/26/19 5:00 p.m.

The victim has been identified as Elsa Thompson, mother of former member of Ohio House of Representatives Andy Thompson.

We spoke with Thompson Sunday, who added his mother "was one of the greatest people who ever walked the earth" and that their family is devastated.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham said firefighters remained on-scene throughout the morning to assure the fire didn't flare back up. He added that the state fire marshal's office will be investigating as to what caused the fire.

Thompson's home at 306 Warren street is a total loss. The next-door home of 304, whose attic caught fire, only sustained some damage and the owner's cat was found, after originally being reported missing.

The owner, Jennifer Kennedy, commended the efforts of the firefighters and says her heart goes out to the Thompson family.

"Quick, they were very professional and they were here to do a job and they did it," she said of the firefighters.

"Oh sweet as can be. Very sweet, sweet and funny," Kennedy added on Elsa, "just a really, really, really nice, kind person."


ORIGINAL STORY 5/26/19 1:00 a.m.

Several fire departments were on high alert late Saturday night as they raced to put out a fire that ripped through a home in Marietta. And now, WTAP has learned the fire claimed the life of an elderly woman, who lived in the home, according to a family member.

Marietta Fire Department responded to reports of a structure fire at 306 Warren Street around 11:15 p.m. Fire officials on scene say they arrived to see flames shooting out the top of the house, at one point dozens of feet "straight into the air."

Devola and Williamstown Volunteer fire departments arrived shortly after to provide more manpower and were joined later by Lowell-Adams.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham confirmed firefighters pulled an elderly woman out of the home after arrival and she was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital. A Marietta Police officer on scene says she was unconscious and unresponsive when firefighters brought her out of the home.

As of around 1:30 a.m., firefighters were still on-scene battling hot spots but officials say it was under control.

Authorities also evacuated the homeowner of 304 Warren Street as the fire spread to the attic of that home. Fire officials say they are still searching for that homeowner's cat. The homeowner, Jennifer, says she was sleeping when police knocked on her door and made her evacuate her home.

There is no word yet on what may have sparked the fire. We have spoken with the son of the female victim and will release her name as soon as we have more details.

Stay tuned to WTAP.com for updates.

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