Officials: Smoking materials caused Middletown apartment fire

The cause of an apartment fire that displaced seven families on July 13 in Middletown has been classified as “accidental.”

Fire Lt. Frank Baughman, city fire marshal, said Middletown Arson Task Force investigators determined fire at the Olde Town Apartments, 1084 Park Lane, was caused by discarded smoking materials on a balcony of apartments from 1082 Park Lane. The fire traveled from the balcony into the attic space.

Tom Snively, Middletown assistant fire chief, told the Journal-News last week that when firefighters arrived, the fire was shooting through the roof of the apartment complex. He said the fire ran across the attic “pretty quickly” but it was stopped at the fire walls.

Upon arrival, crews were met with fire in the attic space above 1084 Park Lane in the extreme heat. The fire was brought under control a little more than two hours later with the assistance of 50 to 60 firefighters and mutual aid from several fire departments from Butler and Warren counties.

All of the residents were able to escape without injury and one firefighter suffered the effects of heat exhaustion. The American Red Cross is assisting those families who were displaced.

Eight apartments were damaged in the blaze and damages have been estimated at between $500,000 and $750,000, according to Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 10:52 a.m. July 13, and the fire was out at about 1:20 p.m.

Those agencies that responded with mutual aid to Middletown included Monroe, Madison Twp., Trenton, Franklin, Liberty Twp., Turtlecreek Twp. and JEMS.

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