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Officials: Marietta house fire claims resident’s life

Marietta Firefighter Dan Hammer sprays down flames on the porch of 602 Front St., Sunday while combating a fatal structural fire in the duplex. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA — A fatal structural fire in Marietta Sunday closed the 500 and 600 blocks of Front Street while firefighters fought the blaze to prevent spread to neighboring homes.

Rein Kovamees, 56, of 602 Front St. is the presumed decedent removed from the structure following control of the flames.

“Marietta Police and the state fire marshal’s office is going to be conducting the investigation,” explained Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham. “It’s too early to tell what the cause is, there was a lot of fire damage so it may take a while to go through the investigative process.”

Kovamees was the singular tenant in the up-down duplex owned by Mayor Josh Schlicher and his father David Schlicher.

“He’d been there about four years,” said the mayor. “This is terrible.”

The Marietta Fire Department utilized its tower truck to remove slate from the roof of 602 Front St. during a fatal structural fire Sunday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

The mayor noted that only the ground floor apartment was occupied. The upper floor was recently renovated; he said he got the notification of an all-call for Marietta safety personnel at 1:21.

Durham estimated that the original call for aid hit his on-duty crew at approximately 1:15 p.m.

Flames were under control by 1:50 p.m., though flare-ups from hot-spots continued as the low-pressure alarms of firefighters inside repeatedly sounded off, minutes apart.

“It was pretty hot,” said Firefighter Scott Casto, after leaving the structure a second time with his pressure alarm blaring. “It had a big head start on us up there (in the attic).”

Firefighter Matt Hively explained from the vantage point of the department’s newest engine, paid for with the city supplemental income tax dollars this year, that the alarms remind firefighters that their time is running out before they need to step outside and reset with fresh air.

The Marietta Fire Department works to battle a blaze at 602 Front St. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

“They’re to alert you that you’re getting low,” he said. “It’s saying to you that it’s time to get out of there.”

Hively also explained from his vantage point how hoses filled with water, and two with 3-percent foam solution, were directed from his station.

Both Marietta Det. A.J. Linscott and Mike Stellfox, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office were on scene Sunday taking statements and photographs to begin an investigation into the fatal fire.

The body of the deceased was removed out the right side of the structure and taken via squad from the scene.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham and firefighter Ryan Thompson, both standing, and firefighters Jared Ross, Lt. Eric Moore and Chris Hall take a moment to breathe. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

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