Saturday, November 18, 2017 Elyria 40°


Man burned in Elyria fire dies


ELYRIA — An Elyria man who suffered severe burns over much of his body Saturday has died.

Donald Secrist, 50, was pronounced dead at 1:55 p.m. Sunday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, according to a secretary in the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office. The coroner had not made a determination on the cause of death.

Secrist was flown to MetroHealth about 9:30 p.m. after a Wolf Court resident found him engulfed in flames on top of a car. That resident notified her husband, 63-year-old Robert Howard, who ran outside with a fire extinguisher and doused Secrist, as well as a few open flames around the vehicle, Howard said.

Secrist already had been burned over 80 to 90 percent of his body by the time firefighters arrived and treated him with saline, according to Assistant Fire Chief Tim Mitchell.

Earlier in the night, Secrist had been watching the Cleveland Indians game with friends at 227 Wolf Court, according to Rocky Updike, who lives at that address.

Mitchell said he believed Secrist, who was known to residents in that neighborhood as “Slim,” left Updike’s home and fell asleep while smoking in the car, which was parked outside the home. The cigarette likely fell out of his mouth and ignited his clothes, Mitchell said.

Secrist’s father lives in Elyria and his half-brother lives in LaGrange, but neither wanted to comment Sunday. A sister in Elyria did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or

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