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Monday, February 15th, 2016

Local man perishes in home fire

By Daily Standard Staff

    COLDWATER - A former village employee died in a house fire Saturday night, Coldwater fire chief Brent Forsthoefel said Sunday.
     Firefighters found Thomas L. Klosterman, 77, in the basement of his home in the 4000 block of state Route 219, Coldwater. He was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital, where he later died due to smoke inhalation, Forsthoefel said.
Firefighters responded to the call at 8:20 p.m. and met Barbara Klosterman outside the home. She told them three people had escaped the home but her husband, Tom, was still inside, the chief said.
Using thermal-imaging cameras, firefighters found Klosterman collapsed at the bottom of the stairs in the basement, Forsthoefel said. Klosterman was transported to the hospital within 24 minutes of the call but later died.
When firefighters arrived, flames and heavy smoke were visible from the back of the home, the chief said. The blaze appeared to have started with a grease fire in the kitchen, which is over the basement and garage, Forsthoefel said.
      The garage was a total loss and the blaze destroyed three cars, a motorcycle and a riding mower along with other items, Forsthoefel said. The house sustained smoke damage.
      Firefighters from Burkettsville, Celina, St. Henry and Montezuma helped fight the fire, he said. State Fire Marshal's Office personnel visited and had left the scene by Sunday afternoon. They continue to investigate.
    Klosterman was described as a beloved figure in the town.   Village manager/engineer Eric Thomas said Klosterman, known to many as TK, had worked many years in the utility department at the water plant. Though retired from the job, employees would often call Klosterman when they had questions about the distribution system.
"He was a great person, a lot of fun to be around," Thomas said of Klosterman.
Thomas also noted that Klosterman was also a retired school bus driver.
"He'll be missed," Thomas said.
Klosterman was also a member and past commander of both the Coldwater American Legion Post and Coldwater Veterans of Foreign Wars.
See obituary on page 5 of today's Daily Standard.

The house fire in Coldwater began in the garage. The error was made in editing.
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