Fatal Fire

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Crews are boarding up what's left of this home on Pheasant Avenue after a fire broke out just after midnight Saturday.

"Initially somebody saw it from a ways a way and saw a glow and thought it was a tree on fire. And then another passerby called and said there was a house on fire," says Captain John Dyer of the Lansing Fire Department.

When crews from the LFD arrived, flames were shooting out from three sides of the house.

"They tried to make an interior attack and went in through the front door and found that a section of the floor had already collapsed," explains Capt. Dyer.

The fire took about eight hours to extinguish. It left the house at a total loss.

"[They] did locate two people in the house, but unfortunately they had already passed away," says Capt. Dyer.

Neighbors say the victims were Charles and June Rybnikar.

"He was a nice fellow. He'd walk up the street quite a bit just about everyday. He'd come up there with his dog and run around the place and then head back," says Bill Ranes who lives just down the street.

Joseph Hess of the Greater Lansing United Nations Association says June Rybnikar volunteered at the organization's gift shop for several years.

"She really cared about people elsewhere in the world and did what she could to help people out. She was very unselfish and very dedicated, " says Hess.

"It kind of hurts to know they didn't make it out of there. I had a feeling all the way down here. When my son called and said he thought it was Chuck's house, I just had a strong feeling they didn't make it," says Ranes.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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