In the early morning hours of May 2, 2015, our firefighters were summoned to 253 Willard for the report of a house fire with people trapped. First arriving crews reported heavy fire on the main house, and fire threatening the homes on either side.
An aggressive interior search was initiated with crews from several companies which led to two victims being found and rescued. The two victims, Michael Rheinbolt and Joseph Fazenbaker, were brought to our firefighter/paramedic crews who immediately began life-saving measures. Tragically, Joseph succumbed to his injuries, and Michael survived with burns to over 30 percent of his body.
Our Fire Investigation Unit conducted a thorough investigation which was able to lead to the arrest of Kassi Brandeberry. Almost a year later, Brandeberry plead guilty to murder and two counts of aggravated arson and was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 21 years.
On Wednesday, September 21, 2016, Captain Michael Posadny, Lieutenant Ronald Murd, Privates Mark Krueger, Gary Quinn and Michael Swartz will be presented with Valor Awards for their actions at the early morning fire. The ceremony will take place in Reynoldsburg, Ohio at the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Larry Flowers.
Congratulations to our firefighters, and best of luck and continued healing to Michael Rheinbolt.