BY SHELLEY TERRY
ASHTABULA — A fire on the city’s east side claimed the life of a 68-year-old man early Sunday morning, said Thomas Despenses Jr., an investigator with the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.
Allen Grimm, 68, of 1629 E. 47th St., was pronounced dead at 12:11 a.m. Sunday in the emergency room at Ashtabula County Medical Center, he said.
Despite firefighters’ and emergency technicians’ efforts to revive Grimm, a preliminary autopsy shows he died from smoke inhalation after falling asleep with food cooking on the stove, authorities said.
Crews were called to the residence at about 10:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the report.
Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames shooting from the windows and the rear door of the structure. Firefighters entered through the front door of the house and encountered thick black smoke from the ceiling to the floor. As firefighters moved through the first floor of the house, they were met with extreme heat and flames, according to Ashtabula Fire Capt. Stephen Chase.
Upon entering the dining room, they found Grimm unconscious and on the floor, according to the firefighters’ report.
Firefighters carried Grimm out of the house and immediately began resuscitation efforts. He was transported to the hospital emergency room by Ashtabula Township Fire Department personnel, where efforts to revive him continued, Chase said.
“Despite the best efforts of the Ashtabula Fire Department, the Ashtabula Township Fire Department and the staff of ACMC’s Emergency Department, the sole occupant of the house succumbed to injuries sustained in the fire,” Chase said. “The Ashtabula Fire Department offers its condolences to the family and friends of the victim.”
The first crews on the scene were assisted by several of Grimm’s neighbors, Chase said.
“Their willingness to help was greatly appreciated,” he said. “With Christmas approaching, the Ashtabula Fire Department urges all residents to look out for their neighbors.”
In addition, firefighters remind everyone to test the batteries in their smoke detectors and to replace all smoke detectors more than 10 years old.