Neighbors and Emergency responders are coping with the aftermath of a house fire that took the lives of a husband and wife early Sunday morning.
Carl Hochchild Jr., 66, and Cynthia Hochchild, 61, were unable to escape the fire that destroyed their Blue Creek home on State Route 125. Their son, Sam Larson, and his wife, Erica, survived the blaze.
Adams County Deputy Brian Newland was first to arrive at the scene. According to a spokesman from the Sheriff’s office, “The house was almost fully engulfed when Deputy Newland arrived to find Mr. Larson attempting to save his mother by pulling her through a window in the back of the house. Newland emptied his fire extinguisher into the room, but was unable to subdue the fast-moving flames, and the house became fully engulfed before they could pull her out.”
Deputies Mike Miller and Brandon Asbury arrived next on the scene. “Deputy Newland was trying to console Mrs. Hochchild’s son,” said Miller, “That feeling of defeat, of not being able to do anything, it’s just the worst feeling in the world. Mrs. Hochchild made it to the window, but they couldn’t get her out before fire overtook the whole room. It was a horrible situation all around.”
Fire departments responding to the scene included: West Union, Jefferson, Peebles, Cherry Fork, Franklin, Otway, and Green. The West Union Life Squad, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the Adams County Coroner, and the Red Cross also responded.
“I live a mile away and I could see the fire when I came out of my driveway,” said Jefferson Township firefighter, Tom Hackworth. “We were on the scene in seven minutes, but the home was fully engulfed when we arrived.”
Firefighters battled the blaze, but were unable to enter the structure to search for or rescue victims.
“It doesn’t really hit you till you get home at night, and have some down time,” said Hackworth, “Some people it affects more than others. The deputies tried their best, and that’s all you can do.”
The Hochchild’s long-time neighbor, Richard White, described the scene as the worst fire he’d ever seen, “It just went so quick. I guess it started about 2:00, when I got there it was really going good, we tried to help, but there was nothing we could do.”
The Larsons were treated at the scene by the West Union Life Squad. “They only had minor burns, so we didn’t have to transport them to the hospital,” said EMT Francis Hook, “But healing is going to be a long road for both of them.”
A former neighbor, Joyce Nixon, told The Defender, “Mr. Hochchild was a wonderful neighbor. He was kind and generous with his time. He would do anything to help you.”
The cause of the fire remains unknown, but it is being investigated by the Ohio Fire Marshal.