A woman and her daughter were found dead early Thursday morning after a fire swept through their North Akron home.
The bodies of Elaine Csora, 52, and her daughter, Jennifer Barlow, 28, were each found in bed inside their respective second-floor bedrooms in the home they shared at 507 Oxford Ave.
Autopsies are planned by the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office. A cause of the fire, which essentially gutted the two-story house, is under investigation.
Family members in Kenmore gathered together to console each other and reflect on the lives of the mother and daughter.
Csora, who was divorced, worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Akron. Barlow, a Central-Hower graduate, lived with her mother since age 14 and worked for a house-cleaning service.
Crystal Barlow, Jennifer’s stepmother, said everyone was stunned by the sudden loss. Jennifer Barlow, who was single, had two brothers and two sisters. Her dog, a husky named Baby Girl, was found dead inside her bedroom.
“They’re mother and daughter, so they fought from time to time, but they loved each other,” she said. “Jennifer was very loving and caring. She loved her brothers and sisters. And they loved her to death.
“It’s just hard for us to believe she is gone. Waking up, not hearing her voice. It’s hard.”
Csora grew up in Firestone Park and eventually moved to Cuyahoga Falls. Later, she married Melford Barlow Sr. and had Jennifer and a son, Melford Jr. The couple divorced after about five years.
Meanwhile, neighbors consoled each other over the loss. At one point, Judy Greenaway stood on her porch on Oxford Avenue and hugged postal carrier Charlotte Sigmon as they spoke of the women.
“It’s just traumatic, just really traumatic,” said Greenaway, who has lived on the street for more than 25 years. “They were nice, nice people.”
Csora had been with the postal service since 1998 and worked nights at a processing facility. She had been off sick the past several days, a Postal Service spokesman said Thursday.
Sigmon said she heard the news before beginning her postal rounds and drove down Oxford Avenue on her way to work Thursday morning.
“I had some suspicions, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be them,” she said. “It’s so devastating. I can’t believe it. Life can be over just like that.”
Sigmon said she gets “to know all my customers pretty well, the ones I see regularly. I don’t know everything about their lives, but Elaine was a really nice person. A lot of people [at the Postal Service] said she was kind of quiet, but when I talked to her, I didn’t have any problem. She was fun and very nice.”
Stephanie Toth, who worked with Csora for seven years, said those who knew her best knew she was far from quiet.
“She was loud, opinionated, rough, and she had this amazing sweet, sensitive side when you got to know her,” Toth said. “I will miss her very, very much.
Akron fire Capt. Al Bragg said dispatchers received a 911 call about 2:20 a.m. He said it appears the fire started on the first floor and spread down to the basement and up to the second floor of the colonial-style home.
The department received a number of calls from neighbors and passers-by. An Akron police officer arrived at the scene about the same time as firefighters.
Based on the number of calls, Bragg said, the smoke and flames were “substantial.”
Bragg said there were no working smoke detectors inside the house.
“It’s unfortunate because smoke detectors have been proven to more than double your chances of surviving,” he said.
The house, valued at $80,000, sustained about $60,000 in damage.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.