“The person that owned the house, he knew that he was there,” Lakes said. “He kind of let him live there, but there was no electric.
“It had been going pretty good by the time we got there.”
The cause “was never determined,” Lakes said. Three investigators for the state fire marshal “went through everything, and they couldn’t determine a cause.”
Hamilton firefighters were first to arrive.
“That’s very close to the border between Hamilton and New Miami,” Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer said. “Our crews were the first ones there. They put water on the fire as soon as they got there, had to set up a tanker operation to shuttle water in — there’s no fire hydrants out there — and it was heavily involved, if not fully involved, about the time we showed up.”
The property was a total loss, Lakes said.
“I pulled my guys out because the floors were burnt so bad, they were burning all the way through. We didn’t want accidents. We pretty much fought it from outside. It was a big loss by the time we got there,” he said.
Lakes said the blaze demonstrates the dangers of living somewhere that lacks electricity.
Hamilton officials in particular have been focusing on securing vacant buildings because of the dangers they pose, especially when people who aren’t supposed to be there are inside.