1 killed in Madison Twp. fire possibly started by cigar laid on toilet paper

Credit: Journal News

Fatal Fire at Catalina mobile home park in Madison Township

Credit: Journal News

UPDATE @ 1:43 p.m.

Madison Twp. Fire Chief Kent Hall said firefighters responded to the same address at Catalina Trailer Park six to seven weeks ago.

Hall said in that fire, one of the trailer’s rooms had been burned and the trailer sustained smoke damage.

Last night’s fire was a total loss, according to Hall. He said the dollar amount damage estimate was about $15,000 to the trailer and $2,000 to the contents.

Hall deferred questions about the investigation to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

INITIAL REPORT

The State Fire Marshal and the Butler County Arson Task Force are investigating the cause of a fatal fire Sunday night.

Emergency crews were called to the Catalina Trailer Park, 6501 Germantown Road, for a structure fire about 8:06 p.m.

Butler County Sheriff’s deputies arriving on scene found the trailer fully engulfed in flames. Deputies made contact with a man who said he was smoking a cigar and had laid it down on a roll of toilet paper causing a fire, according to the sheriff’s report.

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Deputies said that a box of ammunition caught fire sending projectiles off the porch. In addition, welding equipment had caught fire sending the attached gas tank to explode fueling the fire, the report said. Deputies also said after approximately five to seven minutes later, the man said the occupant of the trailer was asleep in the front bedroom.

The report said the two deputies attempted to get to the occupant’s bedroom but due to the intensity of the fire in front of the trailer were unable to make entry.

Madison Twp. firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire. After the fire was out, first responders entered the trailer and found the occupant, Steven C. Strain, 59, on the hallway floor leading from the bedroom to the front door.

Detectives and the State Fire Marshal were contacted and the Coroner’s Office responded to take possession of Strain’s remains.

The suspect was taken to the Middletown Police Department to be interviewed by sheriff’s detectives.

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