The fire that took the life of firefighter Patrick Wolterman early Monday morning was discovered by a police officer investigating a burglar alarm, according to police and fire scanner traffic reviewed by the Journal-News.
The officer also found an open door at the house.
Lester and Bertha Parker left their Pater Avenue home for a 45th wedding anniversary trip to Las Vegas just hours before the alarm in the home alerted police dispatchers at about 1 a.m. Monday. A police officer responded minutes later and reported heavy smoke coming from the two-story house.
“Heavy smoke coming out of it … too heavy to get close,” the officer says in scanner chatter.
A dispatcher also says they have a report of a fire at 1310 Pater. In a 911 call released Monday by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, a man who said he was across the street at a church, said, “something is on fire.”
The officer tells the dispatcher there may be an “old man and woman” who live in the home.
At 1:13 a.m., the police officer tells the dispatcher, “there is heavy smoke coming from the cellar. There is an open cellar door in the back.”
At about 2:36 a.m., after Wolterman was rushed to Fort Hamilton Hospital and additional fire units were called to assist, a police officer asked the dispatcher exactly where the alarm had detected motion. Her answer was, “dining room, front door and rear door times two.”
Fire officials are continuing to investigate what may have caused the fire that took the life of Wolterman.
Officials from the State Fire Marshall’s Office, Hamilton police and fire department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms returned to the fire-damaged house Tuesday to continue the investigation.
No further details about the cause of the fire or the investigation were released Tuesday and there is no timetable for the investigation’s completion, Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson said.