Paraplegic woman killed in Huber Heights fire identified

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a Tuesday afternoon house fire on Prairie Creek Court in Huber Heights that claimed the life of a female resident:

  • The woman was found deceased in a rear living room
  • Victim identified as Brenda Russell, 65, of Huber Heights
  • She had called 9-1-1 for help
  • A dog found in the same room was unconscious, but has been revived

UPDATE @ 3:13 p.m. (May 30):

Firefighters in Huber Heights said a fire that killed a 65-year-old paraplegic woman has been ruled accidental, according to the city’s fire chief.

Brenda Russell, 65, of Huber Heights was found dead in a living room, firefighters said.

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Russell was not in her wheelchair at the time of the fire, despite initial reports from firefighters saying she was, the chief said.

UPDATE @ 1:58 p.m. (May 30):

The victim in Tuesday’s fatal fire in Huber Heights has been identified as Brenda Russell, 65, of Huber Heights.

The cause and manner of Russell’s death was not immediately available.

UPDATE @ 7 p.m. (May 29): The woman has been taken to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office as the investigation continues. Her name and age have not been released. 
Huber Heights fire Battalion Chief Mike Muhl said crews were called to the the address about 3:30 p.m. on a report of a fire with a person trapped.

A dispatcher could hear the woman in the house, he said, and crews found her in her wheelchair, deceased.

She was in a rear living room, the chief said. The smoke and fire damage was contained to that room.

It’s early in the investigation to say whether the woman was unable to walk or had difficulty walking, Muhl said. A Huber Heights police officer who made entry didn’t see that the woman made her way to the front door at all.

“We’re going to assume the wheelchair restricted her ability to move,” Muhl said.

He said he believes the heavy smoke and high heat level contributed to the woman’s death more so than flames or injury. Statistics in fatal house fires will bear that out, he said.

Neighbors said the woman used an oxygen tank, but Chief Muhl said investigators are working to determine whether the tank had anything to do with the fire.

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A dog was pulled out of a burning house unconscious but was revived by firefighters. The dog was found in the same room as the woman who died in the fire, crews said.

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The dog, whose tag reads “Suzy Q,” was revived with cold packs and an oxygen mask. She is stable condition and has been taken to the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, where family members likely would be able to claim her.

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