MOUNT VERNON — The fire which completely destroyed the home at 11250 Cochran Road, owned by Barry and Katherine Gregg, has been ruled accidental by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal.
According to SFM spokesman Matt Mullins, an SFM investigator arrived on the scene around 10:45 a.m. Friday, about an hour after 30 firefighters contained the fire.
Central Ohio Joint Fire District Chief Joe Porter requested that an investigator from the SFM join his department’s investigation of the cause and origin of the fire. Porter said COJFD Fire Investigator Lt. Jason Whipple conducted a joint investigation with the SFM.
The fire rekindled twice over the past few days. Fire crews remained on the scene Friday well into the evening, and were called back out to the home late Friday night to extinguish hot spots.
Seventeen firefighters from the Mount Vernon Fire Department, Fredericktown Community Fire District and the COJFD responded again around 5:45 a.m. Sunday to put out flames.
COJFD Lt. Dave Miller said the building was so heavily damaged, it was now too structurally unsound for firefighters to safely go in to dig out more hot spots.
Miller said the remains of the house may continue to smolder, but because there are no fire exposure threats to any other buildings, firefighters would only put water on the home from the outside if there were another rekindle. He said Sunday’s rain probably helped keep the embers from reigniting.
Mullins said the SFM determined the origin of the fire to be in a chimney near a woodstove. No one was home when the fire started.
There were working smoke detectors inside the house, which was built five years ago. The SFM estimated the damage to the home and its contents at around $300,000.