MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal investigations into two recent Knox County fires continue this week.
According to SFM spokesman Shane Cartmill, the cause of the June 16 fire which destroyed the home at 10331 Gregg Road is still undetermined.
“We are still conducting interviews,” Cartmill said of the investigation process, which is being done with assistance from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Fredericktown Community Fire District.
Cartmill said the fire appeared to have originated in the kitchen of the home, which was occupied when the fire was reported just after midnight. Homeowner Brandie Calkins was home asleep with two of her children when the fire started. Joe Calkins returned home from work a short time later as firefighters were fighting the fire.
It is unknown if there were smoke detectors in the home, according to Cartmill.
The June 22 fire at 12700 Ward Road south of Brandon, which gutted an unoccupied home, also remains under investigation.
The KCSO detective division and the SFM investigator are conducting more interviews concerning the cause of that fire, which is believed to have started in the kitchen before it was reported around 6:30 a.m.
Cartmill said investigators have concluded there is nothing to indicate the fires were in any way connected. Because the SFM conducts between 1,200 and 1,300 investigations into fires each year, it is not surprising for a county to have more than one ongoing investigation, according to Cartmill.
Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast agreed, saying he believes the thorough work of the fire investigators, although time consuming, ultimately will bring the investigations to a satisfying conclusion.
“It speaks well of not only the State Fire Marshal’s Office but it also says a lot for the local fire departments in the county,” Knox County Sheriff David Barber said of the detailed investigations into the cause of each fire. “They want to be absolutely sure about cause and origin, which is not to say they automatically look for any criminal activity, they are just going through all the extra steps.”
“This has been about three agencies combining their resources and knowledge to fulfill our obligation in determining the exact cause of the fire,” Mast said, adding that he hoped the investigations would be concluded in the next few weeks.