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Man dies in apartment house fire

November 28, 2012 News Extra

JACKSON TWP — A tenant was found dead Wednesday night in a burning apartment building in the township and investigators are trying to find out how it started.

Another resident in the 10-unit, three-story building on German Street was overcome by smoke and had to be taken to the hospital, authorities said. A firefighter also was treated for exhaustion.

As many as 15 other tenants managed to escape safely after the fire broke out shortly before 8:30 p.m.; however, 53-year-old Donald Alan Sutch Jr. never made it out.

Harmony firefighters came upon Sutch, who was unconscious in his downstairs bedroom, township police Sgt. Tim Amrhein said.

Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and a short time later, Sutch was pronounced dead at the scene.

Butler County Deputy Coroner Larry Barr said an autopsy determined he died of smoke inhalation.

“He was a nice guy and always ready to help you if you needed something,” said Arlene McCandless, who knew Sutch while living at the same apartment building for four years before moving to nearby Zelienople earlier this year.

The state police fire marshal’s office is investigating the blaze.