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Fire Tragedy Hits El Reno Schools Hard

Ellie Sutter Published: September 1, 1998

EL RENO - As friends and fellow students remembered the victims, the state medical examiner's office ruled Monday that two people killed in an El Reno fire died from smoke inhalation.

Johnny Joe LeBleu, 24, and Felicity Lynn Chisholm, 16, who was pregnant, died Friday in the apartment complex fire, which also left 43 families homeless.

Saturday, El Reno police arrested Ryan Owen McCarty, 17, on complaints of arson and two complaints of murder. Police investigators said they believe an argument between McCarty and a resident of the apartment complex over a girlfriend was the motive for setting the fire.

Gary McCurdy, Canadian County assistant district attorney, said Monday no charges have been filed against McCarty.

Investigators are waiting for reports from the state fire marshal's office as well as a written report from the medical examiner before presenting the complaints to the district attorney's office. McCurdy said charges may be filed this week.

School Superintendent Jan Borelli said McCarty is a student at El Reno Academy, the district's alternative education school.

El Reno is a city of just more than 15,000 and the tragedy touched many residents.

The school district was no exception, Borelli said, with every school sharing a sense of loss.

Ranet Tippens, principal at Roblyer Middle School, said four students from her school lost their homes. Another student is the brother of Chisholm, one of the victims.

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