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Fatal Johnstown Fire Press Conference

During the press conference Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees identified the victim of the fire as 22 year old Grant Jeanjaquet.

His autopsy revealing, he died from toxic thermal injuries overcome by toxic smoke and gas.

West Hills Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Shrock also said that when officials first arrived, three people were seen on the second floor porch roof along with a german shepherd and that flames were visible from the rear of the home.

The first arriving units got there at 2:11am and immediately began search and rescue efforts.

At that time, they were told there might be more occupants trapped inside the home.

Crews deployed ladders and were able to get to the porch roof and rescue five people from the residence, along with the german shepherd.

The fire was determined under control by 2:30 am at which point crews began salvaging operations and began an investigation as to the cause during which they identified the occupants.

“Once our investigation began, we were able to identify the occupants. So, we had the mother. Who’s 41 years of age, father is 37 years of age, Jeff identified our victim, Grant is 22 years of age. And then two daughters aged 18 and 14, and a son aged 5. There was another dog in the residence that did succumb to injuries from the fire.”

Coroner Jeff Lees tells us the victim was found on the first floor after a secondary search.

“He was found in the living room on the first floor between a couch and a wall. It appeared that he was attempting to escape out of a first-floor window. The manner of death is being ruled accidental.”

Fire Chief Shrock tells us that the outcome of the fire could have been much worse if not for the use of smoke detectors.

“As you can imagine at 2 in the morning all the occupants, they’re sleeping. The father was alerted by a smoke detector. I imagine Jeff would agree with me that if the smoke detector was not in the residence, we’re talking about six fatalities in the structure.”

The heroic actions of the family members, especially the mother, were highlighted during the press conference.

“The mother was on the porch roof at one time. However, she was aware that there was another child on the second floor. As I mentioned before, the second floor was filled with heavy black smoke. When I arrived on scene that heavy black smoke began to exit that second-floor window. They did not have a lot of time. That mother re-entered that structure. Made it down the hallway to the other end of the residence and was able to find her young daughter and get her back to that room.”

Preliminary investigation indicated the fire was accidental, but the State Police Fire Marshall has been called into conduct a full investigation.


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