The news that a Westerville teenager died in a house fire Sept. 1 left many in the community grieving.

Hannah Sarver, 17, was a student at Westerville South High School.

In a statement, principal Michael Starner said the school community was "deeply saddened."

"As you can imagine, many students and staff are affected in this difficult time," the statement said. "A number of our staff members have been reflecting about Hannah, who was well-liked and admired at Westerville South."

In the release, teacher Candi Bartlett described Sarver as "a student who didn't have an enemy," and someone who "accepted others and loved everyone."

Starner said the school's crisis team would be available to students and staff members "for the foreseeable future," and he urged students and staff members to reach out to the school's office for counseling services.

No determination was made on the Westerville Division of Fire Chief Brian Miller said he had no reason to believe foul play was involved.

Christa Dickey, a Westerville spokeswoman, said officials believe the blaze was started by a cooking fire that spread from the kitchen, but Westerville fire officials still are investigating.

Westerville fire units were called to the first block of Allview Road about 5:10 a.m. and arrived by 5:15 to find a "pretty intense" fire, according to Miller.

Miller said four people were in the house at the time of the fire.

By the time first responders fought their way into the house, Sarver, was found dead, Miller said. She was not transported to a hospital.

Miller said a coroner later would determine her cause of death.

Two other occupants were upstairs and jumped from a second-story window to escape the blaze, Miller said. A fourth person in the basement of the house also escaped.

One woman was taken to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for treatment.

Fire crews from Westerville, Norwich Township, Washington Township, Worthington and Upper Arlington all responded to the scene at some point, Miller said.

None of the first responders were injured, he said.

Miller said his priority is to prevent other fire-related tragedies, particularly noting the importance of smoke detectors.

"Speaking with the occupants, nobody said they heard any smoke detectors," he said. "I just want people to make sure they have smoke detectors, and if you do have them, make sure they're working."

Reporter Michael Huson of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.

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