The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the two victims of a fatal apartment fire that occurred in Euclid on the morning of October 30.
Gabrielle Lepre, 31, and her son, 5-year-old Chase Goodson, were killed in a fire that started at their home at the Aljer Manor Apartments on Euclid Ave. 24134 erupted.
Lepre and Chase were pronounced dead shortly after being transported on October 30.
Euclid firefighters were dispatched to the three-story, 12-unit building at 8:33 a.m. to report smoke in a hallway.
When they arrived five minutes later, firefighters learned from Euclid police that there were believed to be two occupants in apartment B3. Police had attempted to enter this apartment at 8:36 am but were prevented from doing so by heavy smoke and heat.
Euclid firefighters stretched hoses into the building and after forcibly entering the apartment, they found fires right inside the unit and in the kitchen.
As firefighters began searching the apartment, they discovered that Lepre was unresponsive in the living room. Chase was in his bedroom.
Ambulances transported Lepre to Cleveland Clinic Medical Center and Chase to Euclid Hospital.
All other residents of the apartment building were able to leave the house safely during the fire.
Euclid firefighters received mutual help fighting the blaze from the South Euclid, Richmond Heights, Wickliffe and Willowick fire departments.
According to a press release from the Euclid Fire Department, the fire was contained to an apartment and was declared under control at 8:51 a.m.
The fire is being investigated by the Euclid Fire Department Investigation Unit and the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Investigators are focusing on the kitchen as an area of origin,” the press release said. On the morning of October 31, Euclid Deputy Fire Chief Will Anderson said the fire was still under investigation.
“We’re waiting for reports to come back from the State Fire Marshal’s office,” Anderson said in an email exchange with The News-Herald. “I hope to be able to provide an exact cause by Wednesday at the latest.”
Chase was a kindergarten student at the Early Learning Village school in the Euclid School District. Euclid Schools announced “with great sadness…the loss to fire of one of our Early Learning Village students and parents” in a Facebook post Oct. 30.
The district also announced that on October 30, Early Learning Village staff would be making phone calls to families of students who shared the same classroom with Chase.
Additionally, the district is poised to provide further guidance at the Early Learning Village to students struggling with Chase’s death.
“We know that losing a classmate and friend can be a very difficult experience, especially for young children,” the district said. “We will be making advisory staff available at the Early Learning Village this week to help anyone who may need their help.”
Also on October 31, a GoFundMe account was created to help pay for Lepre and Chase’s funeral expenses.
GoFundMe is an online fundraising platform.
Angelique Williams, a relative who organized the campaign, wrote in the GoFund me account description that Lepre was a mother who loved Chase unconditionally.
“Gabby and Chase meant so much to so many people,” Williams wrote. “So this account is being set up as a means for those who want to help and have the means to support our family while we navigate this process,” she wrote.