Monday, September 30, 2013

One Fire Victim Identified by Coroner; City Fire Chief Urges Residents to Check Smoke Detectors

By Christina Georgiou

Joy Lozier
Facebook photo
The first of three victims killed as a result of a fire that gutted their apartment early this morning was identified by Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim this afternoon.

Joy Lozier, 24, was pronounced dead at 7:30 a.m. at the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, where where she had been transferred after having initially survived the blaze and taken by ambulance to Easton Hospital, Grim said in a press release.

Grim has ruled Lozier's death was accidental and attributed it to body burns.

Two other people, a man and a four-year-old boy, were also killed in the blaze, but Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek has not yet released information on their deaths and was not immediately available by phone Monday afternoon.

Unofficial reports indicate the four-year-old was Lozier's son, Mackai Peters, and the surviving baby is Lozier's second child. Online sources suggest Lozier worked as a manager for Dunkin' Donuts at a location in the city and was a graduate of the Lincoln Technical Institute.

Three other residents of the upstairs apartment at 724 Spring Garden St., a woman, a man, and a baby, survived the fire. Additionally, the resident of the first floor apartment escaped unharmed.

Residents' names, including that of Joy Lozier, who died as
a result of body burns sustained in a fast-moving fire that
consumed the apartment she shared with five others, are
seen on the mailbox at 724 Spring Garden St. While officials
have not yet released the names of a man and a four-year-old
child that also died in the fire, Gregory Jackson, whose
name is also seen above, is not thought to be among them.
Easton Fire Department Chief John Bast said Monday afternoon that both the man and the child have been released from a local area hospital after being treated for smoke inhalation.

The woman remained in the hospital Monday afternoon, and suffered burns as well as smoke inhalation, he said.

The fire started in a middle room on the second floor of the building near an electric clothes dryer, Bast said.

Though fire officials still haven't announced the official cause of the blaze, Bast said the fire is not suspicious, and there was "no criminal intent".

All the residents in the building, along with the seven residents of the other half of the duplex at 726 Spring Garden St., were left homeless by the blaze, as city officials have deemed both addresses uninhabitable.

The American Red Cross is reportedly sheltering the seven people that lived at the single-family home at 726 Spring Garden St. The resident of the first floor apartment at 724 Spring Garden is staying with family, Bast said, adding that he doesn't know what arrangements have been made for the survivors of the upstairs apartment at that address.

A house next door, at 722 Spring Garden St. also suffered minor damage from the fire, but owner Bruce Reichard, who has lived on the block "for most of 77 years" was not displaced. He was waiting for an insurance adjuster Monday afternoon to look at siding that melted, as well as a window that broke from the heat, and a glass panel in his front door that was shattered by emergency personnel when he was evacuated as a precaution during the fire.

Reichard said none of his neighbors next door had lived there for very long.

"I knew them to say hello to, but I didn't know them that well," he said.

Left, work men were seen boarding up and securing 724 Spring Garden St.,
site of a deadly fire early this morning in which three residents were killed and
three others injured. Right, displaced residents, one with an infant, sit on the
porch while other residents of the home pack belongings. Both properties
were deemed uninhabitable after the blaze.
Bast said smoke detectors might have prevented the the deaths and lessened the damages suffered by the survivors.

"We did not find one smoke detector in there, up or down," he said. "Please, people, check your smoke detectors. If you can't afford them, we'll give them to you. If you buy them, we'll put them up for you."

Bast said the fire is the deadliest he's handled during his career with the City of Easton.

"This is the first fatal fire in 12 years, since 2001," he said, adding that in that blaze, one man was killed.

Smoke detectors are available free of charge to city residents from the Easton Fire Department, which recommends having the life-saving devices on every floor and in every bedroom.  Residents can call the department at 610-258-6672 to arrange installation of smoke detectors.

Updated at 4:11 p.m.,  4:20 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.

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