Deadly Hanover Township fire ruled accidental - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Deadly Hanover Township fire ruled accidental

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office says a fire that killed a 77-year-old woman has been ruled accidental.

Zola Gibson died early Friday morning in a house fire on Shank Road in Hanover Township. Gibson's 25-year-old granddaughter, Melanie Scott, was flown via AirCare to University Hospital. Family members say Scott was staying with her grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer's to care for her while her husband recovered from surgery at a rest home.

"The smoke was already rolling out," says Paul Smith, a neighbor.

Smith lives right next door, he also happens to be the Hanover Twp fire captain and immediately recognized the address and jumped into action when her heard the call come in.

"We made access to the back door and that's where we found the granddaughter, she had been overcome by smoke and we got her, but after that it was just so much smoke, there wasn't anything we could do," Smith said.

Neighbors say Zola Gibson and her husband Mel had lived at this home for more than 40 years, Gibson was known for her gardening and her love for cats, many of whom also perished in the fire.
"Just real good peaceful quiet neighbors," Smith said.

Investigators determined the fire was the result of an electrical malfunction in the attic of the home. Smoke detectors were present in the home, but they did not have batteries.

The home is considered a total loss; a dollar estimate is not immediately available.

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