The city says it does not believe a fire engine malfunction delayed efforts to extinguish a blaze that ultimately killed a wheelchair-bound man Easter morning.
The Ellet fire began shortly after midnight near a space heater in the living room of the one-story home at 2621 Zesiger Ave., according to a fire investigation report. Bayard Betleyoun, 66, called 911. He and his dog, who also perished in the blaze, were home alone. Betleyoun, a widower, died at 5:09 a.m. from complications related to smoke inhalation after being taken by ambulance to Summa Akron City Hospital.
“Every fire death is a devastating tragedy that deeply affects our first responders, city leadership and community,” said city spokesperson Ellen Lander-Nischt. “While the appropriate fire response arrived within minutes, by the time crews were able to make entry into the home, the fire had advanced significantly and the individual had already become overwhelmed by smoke.”