Married Couple Died of Smoke Inhalation During Early-Morning House Fire

Dec 18, 2017 at 11:22 am
Randy and Rhonda Ritter passed away this weekend after their home caught fire. - VIA GOFUNDME
Randy and Rhonda Ritter passed away this weekend after their home caught fire.
A GoFundMe campaign has been created for the family of a Metro East couple who died in a house fire over the weekend.

Randall Witter, 70 and Rhonda Witter, 59, were found dead in their Granite City home after it caught fire around 4:36 a.m. on Sunday, according to KMOV. Their dog also perished.

The GoFundMe campaign is meant to help with funeral expenses.

"Randy and Rhonda Witter, along with their beloved dog, Boston, lost their lives tragically to a house fire during the early morning of Dec 17," the GoFundMe page explains. "They are survived by 5 loving children and 8 grandchildren who need help providing burial services. Any assistance, no matter how small, will be so much appreciated by the family."

As of press time, the campaign has raised $2,390 of its $5,000 goal.

Preliminary autopsy findings determined that the couple died of smoke inhalation, the Belleville-News Democrat reports. Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn says that their deaths do not indicate foul play.

Per KMOV, first responders found heavy fire in the house's living room, located in the 1700 block of Minerva. Firefighters found both victims once they were able to get inside. The Witters were pronounced dead just before 6 a.m.

According to the TV station, fire chief Terry Kreher of the Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department said that the one smoke detector found in the house wasn't functioning. 

According to Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Jason Leonard, the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal will handle the fire investigation, the Belleville News-Democrat says.

KMOV reports that neighbors say the Witters had recently moved into their house.

"You can rebuild a house," neighbor Kathy Weis told the station, "but you can't bring somebody back that you love."

To donate to the GoFundMe campaign, click here.