3 years: Remembering lives lost on anniversary of Powers Way arson


Three people died in a fire three years ago on Friday. It was on Powers Way in Youngstown where 10-year-old Corinne Gump and her grandparents, Bill and Judy Schmidt, were killed in the fire that was set on purpose.

Ever since — even with the turns the case has taken — family and friends still gather every year at the spot where the house burned down.

“When I look over there, I can still see the house but I don’t see the fire anymore,” neighbor Jean McCammon said.

The healing process has been filled with battles for McCammon. She vividly remembers standing on her porch, watching as the home of Corinne, Bill and Judy burned across the street.

“I can still see the family as they were. I don’t see them going through that fire and the horror of what I imagine they had to go through,” McCammon said.

On the lawn where the house once stood, the group of about 20 released balloons and lit candles Friday night. Just behind them, an ever-growing memorial for the family.

“In heaven, they’ll look down and see this, and I do believe that’s why we’re doing it. To keep their memory alive,” Stephanie Kovach said.

Bill and Judy were members of the local deaf community. Friends remember them helping others who were deaf.

“Judy, just about a couple weeks before, said that she would help me with the deaf ministry at my church to get it off the ground,” Kovach said.

Goshen Township police arrested then 45-year-old Robert Seman on March 17, 2015 on a charge of raping Corinne. Two weeks later — and the day his trial was to begin — the house caught fire, leading investigators to believe Seman was the one who lit it.

But the capital murder case never reached a verdict. Seman jumped to his death in the Mahoning County Courthouse last April.

“Maybe it’s in myself that I don’t feel the hatred toward him because he was very sick,” Kovach said. “But he got what he had coming to him.”

McCammon said she still sees the lives lost, shining across the street.

“Just the physical is gone and the soul is still over there, enjoying her little life as an angel.”

The family didn’t want to go on camera, but said these events in memory of their loved ones are helping them heal.

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