UPDATE | Scam solicits money after fatal fire

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 5/31/19 @ 6:30 p.m.
Friends of a family killed in a fire last week are furious over a scam to profit off their deaths.

Last Friday, a married couple and their two step-grandchildren died in a house fire on Township Road 336 in Ironton.

A woman who went to church with the victims started a fundraiser on Facebook to help pay for the funerals.

That fundraiser got a big response and raised thousands of dollars, but the woman was sickened when she discovered somebody else had created a fake Facebook account using her name and profile picture.

The person behind the fake account sent private messages to people who'd already donated to the real fundraiser, asking for Amazon e-card donations to pay for food and funeral expenses.

The friend who's account was duplicated didn't want to talk on camera, but she's been warning people not to fall for the scam. She says she reported the scam to Facebook, and the fake account has been taken down.

The friend says it's despicable anyone would try to profit from this tragedy.

Experts say you should never donate to anyone through a social media private message.

The woman says more than $11,000 was raised in the legitimate fundraiser, which comes close to covering expenses for the four funerals.

Those funerals were held Thursday.



UPDATE 5/24/19 @ 10 p.m.
Neighbors and friends of the family killed Friday morning in a house fire are devastated and say their neighborhood will never be the same.

Neighbor Kayla Short says she considered Greg Taylor Sr. and Amreh Taylor like an aunt and uncle.

Her son played with Zell Bias often, and she had to break the news to her son when he got up Friday morning. She says it’s especially hard because they were looking forward to having a fun summer together.

"They were supposed to have this fun weekend, and now we have this happen, so it kind of makes it nerve-wracking, and trying to get an almost 7-year-old to understand his friend's not going to be here is even harder,” Short said.

Short’s father, Scott Skaggs, says Greg Taylor Sr. was his best friend for more than 15 years. The two used to work on cars together.

"He could work on cars and was just a really great guy,” Skaggs said.

He says his son-in law called him early Friday morning and told him he heard a loud boom down the road, but once they got there the house was already engulfed in flames.

They say the Taylors were some of the kindest people you could ever meet.

"They loved you, they would give you the shirt off their back," Short said.

Members of the community are donating money through a Facebook page for the family of the victims.

You can find that page here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2589134864646853/10216275804561600/



UPDATE 5/24/19 @ 11:29 a.m.
Investigators have released the names of four people who died in a house fire in Lawrence County, Ohio early Friday morning. The victims include young children and adults.

The Lawrence County Coroner's Office released the victims' names Friday morning.

Greg Taylor Sr., 54, and his wife, Amreh Taylor, 52, were found dead in the bedroom of their home in Perry Township. The coroner says the couple was caring for their step-grandchildren who were found dead in a separate bedroom: Zell Bias, 8, and Gemma Bias, 4. The kids were still in bed.

The coroner says a service dog also died in the fire. Taylor Sr. was wheelchair-bound.

"The body of their service animal canine was also discovered and appeared to have been attempting to alert the couple," the coroner's office stated in a press release.

Crews from the Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department responded to the home on Township Road 336 shortly after midnight Friday. Firefighters from the Upper Township Fire Department and Coal Grove Fire Department assisted as well.

The entire home was on fire by the time crews arrived.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office is on scene Friday investigating the cause. According to the coroner, there are no obvious signs of foul play.

"Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the family as they cope with this unforeseeable tragedy," stated the coroner. "It is unclear if there were functional smoke detectors in the home, however we would like to remind all residents to check the status of their smoke detectors regularly and to contact your local fire department should you need assistance in installing one."

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/24/19
Four people have died after a fire burned through a home early Friday morning in Lawrence County, Ohio.

The fire happened before 2 Friday morning at a home on Township Rd. 336 northeast of Ironton.

The Perry Township fire chief tells WSAZ there were four people found dead. There is no word on the victims ages.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal's office is investigating.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.