Fire claims life of Salem man

SALEM-A Salem resident died Friday night after flames broke out in a home in the South Lincoln Avenue historical district, with the cause of the fire undetermined and under investigation.

The Columbiana County Coroner’s office identified the victim as David Andrew Schiller, 51, who is the son of Royal and Susan Schiller, who own the home at 861 S. Lincoln Ave. All three resided in the home. The cause of death hasn’t been determined yet, according to coroner’s investigator Sunny Bowers.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. A message was left for a State Fire Marshal Department of Commerce spokesman, but the call wasn’t returned. Capt. Scott Mason of the Salem Fire Department said an investigator was at the scene Friday night and planned to return Monday.

Mason said the last fatal fire handled by the department was Dec. 22, 2008 on Ohio Avenue when 54-year-old homeowner Raymond Lee Hilliard Jr. lost his life in a fire which destroyed his two-story home.

The State Fire Marshal’s office declared the cause of that fire as undetermined and Hilliard’s death was ruled accidental.

According to Mason, there appeared to be no working smoke detectors in the house on South Lincoln Avenue. The report said detectors were present but failed to operate and listed the reason for failure as battery missing or disconnected.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 861 S. Lincoln Ave. by Salem Police at 9:37 p.m., with flames already shooting out of a second story window when they arrived. One resident was already outside and confirmed there was entrapment on the second floor. All shifts were contacted to respond.

As firefighters entered the house to advance a hose line to the second floor, an elderly man was found wandering on the first floor and escorted outside.

According to the fire report, advancement to the second floor was delayed due to high heat conditions on the second floor. Another hose line from the north side of the house knocked the fire down on the second floor, where the victim was found after a search.

KLG Ambulance transported the victim to Salem Regional Medical Center.

The fire caused heavy damage on the second floor and also damaged the first floor and attic. Perry Township and Damascus fire departments responded to assist, with all hot spots extinguished. One firefighter received minor injuries, but didn’t require medical attention.

According to the Columbiana County Auditor’s website, the two-story home was valued at $176,000 and was built in 1875. The fire report listed possible damages at $125,000 for the structure and $125,000 for contents. The home was insured.