A former vice mayor of Trotwood will be “dearly missed” after falling victim to a fire Sunday morning in her Trotwood home.
Bonnie Schenk, 77, was found in her bedroom when fire crews arrived on the scene around 7:30 a.m. Sunday to the two-story home in the 100 block of East Main Street.
Schenk was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to Trotwood Fire Lt. Shane Snyder.
“She was a very important community leader, for the future as well as the past,” said Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald. “She’s a part of the history and the fiber of the city of Trotwood. She will be dearly missed.”
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Snyder said the state fire marshal and city fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
“Crews did extinguish a fire in the upstairs apartment of the building — there was a lot of heavy smoke at that point. The cause and origin is still under investigation,” he said.
Snyder confirmed the Animal Resource Center was called to remove the body of Schenk’s dog, who also died in the fire.
According to Dayton Daily News archives, throughout the past few decades Schenk held positions including president of the Chamber of Commerce, vice mayor, member of the City Council, president of the Trotwood Heritage Days event and editor of the Trotwood Communicator.
Neighbor James Foster, who lives across the street, said he woke up Sunday to his dog barking and his own house full of smoke.
“The smoke was so thick here, I thought my house was on fire,” he said.
Foster said he checked his house for the source, and when he couldn’t find it, he ran outside, where he saw smoke pouring from Schenk’s home.
Neighbor James Foster, who said Schenk was “Trotwood royalty,” swept up some of the debris in front of the home, in anticipation for residents and other community members stopping by to pay their respects.
“There will be a monument of flowers there soon and I didn’t want people to walk up to the glass and be more horrified than they are at this catastrophe,” Snyder said.
McDonald said she hadn’t seen Schenk as an active community member lately due to declining health concerns. She also hasn’t had the chance to meet with city staff on what the city plans to do in the wake of Schenk’s death.
“It means a lot to be able to share just how we feel as a city regarding this,” McDonald said. “She really was a very important person in our community and very much part of our history.”