Colerain Twp. fire declared arson, second fire suspicious

Published: Oct. 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2013 at 1:27 AM EDT
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COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Investigators are calling one overnight fire arson and a second fire nearby suspicious.

The first fire broke out at around 2 a.m. at a home in the 5800 block of Orchard Hill Lane.

No one was injured, but Colerain Fire Captain Darian Edwards says there were people home at the time who got a rude awakening.

"They heard windows breaking, the fire alarms going off, they got out of bed and they discovered there was a fire on the exterior of their home," explains Edwards

Edwards says the fire started on the back deck of the home and spread to the rear exterior wall.

"That was just basically the fire impingement directly on the windows so the fire actually penetrated into house through the windows to some degree," said Edwards.

The home owner declined to be interviewed for this story, but Edwards says the blaze was deliberately set. "We have eliminated all accidental causes and there were two separate fires we've located on the exterior of the home. We are deeming this an arson fire and that's the report we're carrying with it."

Edwards says investigator looking into the Orchard Hill fire noticed something burning in the distance.

"We could see at about two and a half to three miles distance a large glow in the sky," said Edwards.

Edwards says that glow turned out to be a hay filled barn which was fully engulfed in flames.

"By the time the crews got there, even if it's in the first three minutes, this is going to be fully involved," Edwards said. "There's no making entry by the fire crews and it's a truly defensive fire. They're basically just trying to catch up and put the fire out so it doesn't spread to other wild land or other structures nearby."

Firefighters say they used foam and more than 100 thousand gallons of water on the blaze throughout the morning and afternoon and even early this evening the bales of hay continued to smolder in what remained of the 100 year old barn.

"With most barn fires we're looking at older structure, all wood, no fire protection, dried out with the fuel load of the hay," said Edwards. "That's a massive fuel load."

It's not yet clear what sparked the barn fire.  Investigators say the hay bales may have spontaneously combusted, but that hasn't been determined. However, two fires in the same general area at about the same time has the attention of investigators

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