MOUNT VERNON — Months after fire destroyed two homes on opposite sides of the county, just six days apart, investigations into both fires have been concluded without a determination of what caused either fire.
The June 16 fire which completely burned the home at 10332 Gregg Road north of Fredericktown owned by Brandie and Joe Calkins, began around midnight. The family members who were home at the time of the fire were able to get out safely, but the home and its contents were a total loss.
Fire Chief Scott Mast said his department has completed dozens of hours of investigation looking for the cause of the fire, which his firefighters as well as the state investigator were unable to pinpoint.
“Our investigation team has spent numerous hours investigating this fire,” Mast said, expressing frustration that a more definitive report could not be made. “Unfortunately, due to the circumstances surrounding the fire, we were unable to determine an exact cause,” Mast explained. “That’s not uncommon given the nature of fire investigations.”
Homer Fire Chief Randy King said the June 22 fire at 12700 Ward Road, south of Brandon, which has been under investigation by the state fire marshal and the Homer department, has also frustrated investigators.
“We could not pinpoint a starting point,” King said. Because the home was empty and in foreclosure at the time of the fire, investigators felt the cause was likely suspicious. “That just threw a red flag immediately being an unoccupied house,” King said.
The remote location of the house made finding witnesses unlikely. “The closest house is about 200 yards away,” King said. Because the fire started around 6:30 a.m. it was also unlikely anyone drove by near the time the fire started.
King said no cause could be determined, even though the fire appeared suspicious. “You can’t rule it out, but you can’t confirm it,” he said of foul play.
According to the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal spokesman Shane Cartmill, both fires “will remain undetermined.”
“Investigators have completed all their interviews and concluded their investigation,” Cartmill said in an email Tuesday. “The cases will remain open, but unless new information is brought forward, the fires will remain undetermined.”