By BRIAN BOHNERT
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — A Fostoria woman allegedly used a railroad flare to start a Memorial Day fire that destroyed a Fostoria home and killed two people inside, according to court documents.
Shey L. Weiker, 31, and Charles V. Schaeffer, 44, both of 151 Taft Blvd., and Timothy D. Hall, 20, of 126 Findlay St., are accused of starting the fire at 614 S. Poplar St. shortly before 3 a.m. Monday.
The blaze killed Daniel Marker Jr., 48, who lived in the house, and Tara Lynn Vance, 44. Dana Weatherall, 49, escaped the fire and was taken by ambulance to ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital, then to a Toledo hospital.
According to Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court records, she was initially placed in a medically-induced coma.
Fostoria Police Chief Keith Loreno said Det. Shilo Frankart planned to interview Weatherall at the hospital on Wednesday.
Frankart, along with the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, are spearheading the investigation into the deadly fire. The three suspects were arrested the day of the fire.
Weiker allegedly threw a lit railroad flare toward the porch of the South Poplar Street residence, records at Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court state. She is being held on four counts of aggravated arson, two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder and one count of tampering with evidence.
According to court records, Schaeffer allegedly instructed Weiker in how to activate and use the railroad flare. He is being held on four counts of complicity to commit aggravated arson, two counts of complicity to commit aggravated murder, and one count of complicity to commit attempted aggravated murder.
Hall is accused of disposing of evidence. According to court records, he allegedly disposed of the flare’s strike cap by throwing it into the sewer system in the 100 block of Taft Boulevard. He is being held on four counts of complicity to commit aggravated arson, two counts of complicity to commit aggravated murder, one count of complicity to commit attempted aggravated murder, and one count of complicity to tampering with evidence.
Weiker, Schaeffer and Hall appeared before Judge Mark Repp of Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court for arraignment on Tuesday.
Repp set Weiker’s bond at $2 million with 10 percent allowed and appointed James Ruhlen as her attorney. Hall’s bond was also set at $2 million with 10 percent allowed, and Susan Phillips was appointed as his attorney. Schaeffer’s bond was set at $1.5 million with 10 percent allowed and attorney Mark Klepatz was appointed to represent him, according to court records.
Loreno, just into his third week as Fostoria’s police chief, said investigations in this case, as well as last week’s burglary-turned-homicide on East Culbertson Street, have gone very well with officers making arrests within 12 hours of each crime being reported.
“The officers should all be commended on their fast actions … I’m extremely proud to be part of this police division,” Loreno said. “They certainly exemplified great law enforcement.”
Loreno, Fostoria’s former fire chief, also praised the men of Fostoria Fire Division for their search and rescue efforts, and for extinguishing the South Poplar Street blaze and preserving key pieces of evidence.
“They did a phenomenal job,” he said. “They performed the rescue operations very well. It was a sad situation that we did have fatalities, but they certainly preserved the evidence well … And, I’m sure interim Fire Chief (Warren) Digby is very proud of his men as well.”
The suspects are being held in the Seneca County Jail until their preliminary hearings Tuesday in Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court. Hall is scheduled to appear before Repp at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, with Schaeffer set to follow at 11:30 a.m. Weiker will have her preliminary hearing at 3 p.m.