The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

August 14, 2013

Toxic smoke inhalation killed sister, brother

By Monica Pryts
Allied News Staff Writer

GROVE CITY — Brandon Lee Fortuna and Kirsten Lynn Fellows died June 17 in his Grove City home as a result of smoke inhalation with carbon monoxide toxicity.

But the manner of death for the brother and sister could not be determined, according to a news release issued Monday night by Mercer County Coroner J. Bradley McGonigle III.

Authorities have not released information on what might have started the fire early that morning at 432 McConnell St.

A message left early Tuesday afternoon for Trooper David R. Jungling Jr., a state police fire marshal out of New Castle, was not immediately returned.

Fellows, 43, who lived in Lackawannock Township with her fiancé, Richard McDowell, had been visiting Fortuna, 28, who was getting ready to sell his home, and the siblings were there cleaning it up, according to McDowell.

Authorities say Fellows’ body was found on the second floor and Fortuna’s was found in the basement, believing he fell from the second level through holes burned in the floors.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 3:15 a.m. June 17.

McDowell has said he believes the siblings were on the main floor and fell asleep on the couch after cleaning.

McDowell also thinks that after the home caught fire, Fellows went outside with her dog, Sissy – who was found alive a few days later in a backpack in the rubble – but then attempted to rescue her brother when he was overcome with smoke, he said.

McDowell let Fellows’ 20-year-old son have the animal to comfort him.