Authorities Release Names Of 3 Who Died In Wyandot County Fire


UPDATED: Tuesday February 5, 2013 6:50 PM

The Wyandot County Sheriff's Office said three people died in an early morning fire in downtown Harpster.

The fire started at the old General Store building around 3 a.m.

There were two apartments located on the top floor of the building.

Six people lived in the two apartments, according to the sheriff's office.

One man jumped out of the apartment and escaped without harm. A mother and a small child were able to escape the other apartment.

Zenan T.R. Wample, 18, James L. Gatchell, 20, and Lauren A. Vinson, 19, died in the fire, authorities said.

"The flames were coming out of the upper story, and the back part of the apartment complex was just totally engulfed and gone. It was very sad," said witness Ron Rodabaugh.

At least four fire departments were called to the scene to help fight the fire.

Smoke was still coming from what was left of the building at noon Tuesday morning.

The fire remained under investigation, but preliminary reports showed that the fire likely was accidental.

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