By MORGAN MANNS
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — A Fostoria family is struggling to cope with the death of a loved one following a fire at a South Poplar Street residence early Monday.
Relatives said Daniel “Danny” Joe Marker Jr., 48, died in the fire at his 614 S. Poplar St. residence. The blaze also killed an unidentified female and six dogs, and left another unidentified female seriously injured.
The fire has been determined to be arson by the Fostoria Police Department and Fire Division.
“It was 2:59 in the morning and I got a call from a service company,” Danny’s mom, Nancy Marker, said, adding that her son was deaf. “He was saying, ‘It’s an emergency, I smell smoke. I don’t see the fire but I smell smoke.’
“I left my house (approximately eight blocks away) and when I was down the road (from his house) I could see flames coming from the front of the house. I couldn’t get to the door or to the house to get him out.”
“In the hurry she forgot to grab her cellphone,” said Shane Marker, Danny’s brother, who lives on West Tiffin Street. “She came down and was beating on my bedroom window and on the front door and said my brother’s house was on fire.”
By the time the duo made it back to the Poplar Street house, Fostoria firefighters were attempting to put the blaze out and save those in the residence. Shane said they would not allow the family near the burning residence.
“I knew (Danny) had just called my mother and that he was in there alive and we couldn’t even get in to save him,” he said.
At some point, Shane said he heard that someone was being pulled out of the back of the house. He went around and saw a female, bruised and bleeding, being pulled to safety from a window.
Shortly thereafter, Shane said he heard the firefighters were bringing the other two victims out of the front of the house.
“They brought him out and they started pumping on him, just pumping, pumping, pumping. I was like, ‘Come on Danny, come on,'” he described while fighting tears. “I was six or seven feet away from my brother. … I think he took his last breath right in front of me.”
According to Shane, he had barricaded the back door of the house to keep people out, because his brother had been harassed in the past.
“It took seven or eight (officers and firefighters) to get that back door open,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m trying so hard not to think that I might have kept him in there.”
Shane said there were recent threats made against him and Danny, which may be related to the fire.
One of the arrested suspects, Shey Weiker, 31, is Shane’s ex-wife, according to Shane. He said the other two arrested suspects, Charles V. Schaeffer, 44, and Timothy D. Hall, 20, know Weiker.
Nancy said she is grateful for the condolences and kind words from community members. She said Danny didn’t have insurance on the house and didn’t have life insurance. She said she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for his funeral.
“We’re in shock right now, I guess,” Nancy said. “It seems as if I lost my son in a matter of five minutes. I was talking to him and then he was gone.”
Danny was the “record keeper” for the family, always remembering birthdays and anniversaries and other important dates, according to Nancy.
“People came up to me (after the fire) and were telling me how nice of a guy he was,” Shane said. “If they ever needed anything, Danny was always there to help them.
“They all said how nice he was, that he would never hurt anybody, that he would always help others. … And somebody just steals (life) away from him.”
Nancy said Danny’s dedication to helping others included opening his home to the two women in the residence at the time of the fire. They were temporarily living with Danny until they found another place in the area to stay, according to Nancy. He met them in Columbus while at a school for the deaf, and they were both hard of hearing as well, Nancy said.
“He didn’t have a lot but he was always willing to give anything to anybody that needed it,” Nancy said. “He’s always been there for everyone; family and friends. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”