Fire that damaged 3 Hamilton businesses ruled arson

A fire that caused $500,000 in damages to three stores at the Hamilton Plaza has been ruled an arson, fire officials told this news outlet.

Hamilton firefighters battled the blaze Nov. 1 that erupted in the Rent-A-Center on Dixie Highway in the Hamilton Plaza. Two neighboring businesses — Chatti Salon and Family Dollar — suffered heavy smoke damage, according to Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson.

After initially ruling the fire “suspicious,” it is now officially ruled an arson, Fire Investigator Trevor Snider told the Journal-News today.

“It was arson and is currently under investigation,” he said. “We are still looking at evidence and won’t be releasing further information at this time.”

The State Fire Marshall’s Office assisted with the investigation initially due to the size of the blaze.

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A spokeswoman with the State Fire Marshall’s Office did not offer further information about the fire when contacted today.

Investigators have been working to obtain security camera footage that may help determine the cause of the fire, according to Snider, who added that the on-scene investigation led to concluding arson as the cause of the blaze.

“On scene we look at evidence and take pictures while going through all of the evidence,” he said. “We look for anything that can tell us if the fire was an accident or intentional. And depending on that it tells us where we have to go next in the investigation.”

He and Dawson declined to say what evidence found at the scene led to the arson ruling because the investigation is ongoing.

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