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A neighbor has been arrested and charged with setting fire to a house on Fultz Street in Akron on May 15, killing seven people including a former Portage County resident.
The Akron police and fire departments, State Fire Marshal's Office and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Tuesday that Stanley O. Ford, 58, of Hillcrest Street, was arrested and charged with seven counts of aggravated murder and one count of aggravated arson for the fire that claimed the lives of five children and their parents. Hillcrest Street ends at Fultz Street, north of Interstate 76.
Ford will be arraigned today in Akron Municipal Court. He does not appear to have a criminal record in Summit County.
Angela Boggs, 38, formerly of Charlestown and Ravenna Township, her boyfriend Dennis Huggins, 35, and their children Jared Boggs, 14, Daisia Huggins, 6, Kyle Huggins, 5, Alivia Huggins, 3, and Cameron Huggins, 16 months, died in the blaze. All seven died of smoke inhalation, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office.
"This is a devastating tragedy for our community," Horrigan said. "The safety of our residents is my top priority, and I vow to do everything in my power to ensure that justice is achieved for these victims and their families."
"The loss of life can never be replaced, but through the collaboration of state and local officials, we can bring to justice the man responsible for this horrific incident," Interim State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey said. "We will continue working with all agencies involved to see this case through until the end."
Akron firefighters responded to the blaze in the early morning hours of May 15 at 693 Fultz Road in Akron.
Dennis Huggins' brother, Albert, said he was grateful for "all the hard work" Akron police and firefighters did on the case.
"We are hoping to get more answers behind this arrest," he said Tuesday. "I pray that justice will prevail. No one deserves to die like that, especially young children."
Anyone with additional information on the fire is encouraged to call the State Fire Marshal's Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau tip line at 800-589-2728.
Boggs survived a prior attempt on her life, also by arson, by her estranged husband during a February 2001 domestic disturbance at their home on S.R. 5 in Charlestown. Patrick Boggs was convicted of multiple felony charges for trying to light his wife on fire and served 12 years in prison, according to court records.
Patrick Boggs was detained last week after the fire on a suspected parole violation. But police said Tuesday that he was not a suspect in the fire.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.