Man who lights fireworks, causes deadly Preble County fire pleads no contest

EATON — A man accused of lighting fireworks in September that caused a deadly mobile home fire in Preble County on Tuesday pleaded no contest to a reckless homicide charge.

Anthony Wayne Luker Jr., 24, faces a maximum three years in prison and a $10,000 fine when he is sentenced Jan. 17 in Preble County Common Pleas Court for his role in the death of 57-year-old Kenneth Doolin.

Credit: Preble County Jail

Credit: Preble County Jail

Crews responded around 10:45 p.m. Sept. 7 to a fire at a mobile home with a person trapped at 6599 state Route 121 West in New Paris.

A woman said she was going to sleep when she heard popping noises and a person ask “Are you going to stop shooting off those fireworks?” according to an Eaton Municipal Court affidavit.

Shortly after, the mobile home caught fire. The woman reportedly escaped from a bedroom window and said she heard a vehicle start and pull out of the driveway.

Doolin was found dead inside the mobile home, Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson said. An autopsy confirmed he died from smoke inhalation, according to court records.

Luker was arrested the next day. During an interview he said he was setting off fireworks and accidentally set fire to the mobile home, according to court documents.

“He fled the scene out of fear,” the affidavit read.

As part of Luker’s plea agreement, felony charges of having weapons while under disability, receiving stolen property and grand theft when the property is a firearm or dangerous ordnance were dismissed.

Luker remains held in the Preble County Jail.

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