YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Family and friends of Bill and Judy Schmidt and their granddaughter arrived at 3631 Powers Way on Monday about 12 hours after a fire claimed all three of their lives.
Connie Glozer hugged her nephew, William Schmidt, outside of what was left of his parents’ home.
“I don’t think he can still believe that it happened. He has to see it for himself,” Glozer said.
Glozer is Bill Schmidt’s sister. She said Bill and Judy Schmidt were Wilson High School sweethearts and this year marked their 42nd wedding anniversary.
“They are just good people. Just very good people,” Glozer said. “Everybody who knew Billy loved him. He had friends all over the United States. He could go anywhere in the country and probably run into somebody that he knew. He was just that well liked of a person.”
And, Glozer said they just loved their granddaughter and recently gained custody of her.
“Their granddaughter was just the apple of their eyes,” Glozer said.
Pamela Jones’s grandchildren knew her well, too.
“It is very devastating because my grandkids played with this little girl and I am heart broken. They are heart broken,” Jones said.
Jones’ daughter lives next door to the Schmidts and said they were always kind.
“They were the absolute best people I have ever met. And they were deaf. They were with loving arms and always smiling and always waving ‘hi, how are you?’ I am sick about it,” Jones said.
Bill and Judy Schmidt had been very active in the hearing impaired community in Youngstown. Many of their friends who were at the scene on Monday were using sign language and Glozer helped reporter Greta Mittereder talk to one of the couple’s longtime friends.
Ricky Bloom shook his head in disbelief outside the Schmidt’s home.
Bloom, who also is hearing impaired, graduated from Wilson High School with Bill and Judy Schmidt in 1971. Glozer said Bill Schmidt was deaf from birth, but Judy went deaf as an infant from a high fever.
Bloom said Bill Schmidt worked for AT&T for 35 years, but said his friend was ready to enjoy retirement.
“He looked forward to moving to Pennsylvania to the cabin where he liked to hunt and fish after they got things straightened around with their granddaughter,” Bloom said.
The couple’s 10-year-old granddaughter was supposed to testify against the man accused of raping her.
Glozer said her brother Bill was an avid outdoorsman.
“He loved his sports. He loved to fish. He loved to hunt. He was an avid hunter. He had trophies and stuffed deer all over his living room wall,” she said.
Click the links below to hear the 911 calls made about the fire: