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3 dead, 2 children survive Brown County house fire

Community rallies around Ripley kids
Brown County house fire
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 21, 2022

RIPLEY, Ohio — The Brown County community is rallying behind two boys, the only survivors from a house fire in Ripley Friday morning.

Officials said said Phillip Royster, 49, Ashley Ramos, 33, and 4-year-old Annabella Royster were found dead when crews responded to a fire at 7402 Gardner Road. An 8-year-old and 10-year-old survived.

"It's amazing that anybody got out alive — I don't know how the two boys did," said Donald Maloney, owner of Community Lanes. "Just very tragic, to see the boys run to the neighbors, them asking, and you know, they say they're all dead. It's something else. I can't imagine what's going through the boys' heads...it's going to be rough for them."

Community Lanes in Georgetown will host a benefit Feb. 27 with bowling and a silent auction. Money raised will help with funeral expenses and getting the two boys back on their feet.

"We didn't know the actual family, here in Brown County all of us come together when something happens, you know," Maloney said.

Ripley Union Lewis Huntington's elementary and middle schools will be collecting donations as well.

"The first thing you do is come together," Superintendent James Wilkins II said. "Small communities such as this, everyone gives a lot of love when there's a tragedy. Certainly this is a very sad, sad day for our staff and students."

Wilkins said the district will also be donating food to the family, helping in any way they can.

"We'll do everything we can to help the family," Wilkins said.

Officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The State Fire Marshal Office has started its investigation.

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