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Woodward Township fire victims identified

WILLIAMSPORT — State police from Montoursville and the Lycoming County coroner have identified Carolyn Barner, 67, and her granddaughter, Riley Welch, 8, as those who perished in the house fire early Sunday in Woodward Township.

Barner and Welch were pronounced dead at the scene of the two-story house fire at 225 Woodward St. shortly after 6:30 a.m., Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. said.

State police Cpl. Nicholas Loffredo said the fire started at the rear of the structure and the cause remained under investigation.There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the blaze, he said.

A resident and homeowner, Gary Apker, 66, was found asleep in a recliner in the first floor living room by a passer-by, who also is a volunteer firefighter, Loffredo said.

Apker told the firefighter, who previously dialed for 911 assistance, that Barner and Welch were upstairs. The volunteer firefighter and another passing motorist, who stopped to assist, threw rocks at the second-floor window to break them, Loffredo said.

Barner approached the window and tried to get out. She jumped or fell from the window and was unresponsive. Welch was found by fire personnel on the second-floor of the house, Loffredo said.

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