BETHEL, Ohio -- Firefighters heard only one smoke detector – and that was in the basement – at the house fire that killed a mother and her adult daughter early Tuesday morning.
“I would presume that they were probably in bed and were trying to make an exit out," Bethel Tate Fire Chief Rick Stowell said.
Firefighters found the two women 15 feet apart - one in the kitchen, the other in the hallway in the 400 block of North Charity Street, according to Stowell.
A next-door neighbor called 911 and reported a “giant” fire about 2:45 a.m.
"They need to get here now, like, this house is gone," another caller said.
"It was through the roof, fully involved," Stowell said.
The victims' names - the mother was in her 70s, the daughter in her 50s – have not been released.
Neighbors said the women were always friendly.
“Everybody knows everybody and everybody communicates on social media and so I’m sure the majority of the area here knows these people,” Stowell said. “Yeah, it's sad."
A Mount Orab firefighter was taken to Mercy Anderson Hospital with chest pains, but he is expected to be OK. The state fire marshal was on scene to investigate the cause. Stowell said arson was not suspected.
“This is a good reminder to make sure your smoke detectors are working and you have a fire escape plan,” Stowell said.
Fire officials initially misidentified the daughter's body as a male victim, prompting them to think she was missing and rto search unsuccessfully for her several times through the house.
Watch Reporter Ally Kraemer talk with Stowell in the video player below.