Bristol fire chief believes recent fire that destroyed house is ‘suspicious’

Local News

The first firefighter on the scene reported seeing a door that appeared to be forced open

BRISTOL, Ohio (WKBN) – A fire recently destroyed an unoccupied home in Bristol. Investigators are now raising questions about how it started.

There’s not much left of the home that caught fire early Sunday morning.

“Nothing’s left at all,” said Bristol Fire Chief Tom Dempsey.

A few walls, debris and a chimney are pretty much all that remain of the home on Mahan Denman Road.

Smoke could still be seen coming from the rubble on Tuesday.

“The issue was the fire got such a head start on us,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey says by the time crews got there, the home was already consumed by the fire.

He believes it had been burning for a while before a neighbor who lives a half-mile away woke up to its glow and called it in.

Dispatcher: “911, can I help you?”
Caller: “Um yes, I’m calling because I see a fire.”

“We tried to make an interior attack and tried to do a primary search but the floor on the one side of the building was completely already burned through so we pulled guys out and made a defensive operation,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey says the fire is suspicious. The first firefighter on the scene reported seeing a door that appeared to be forced open.

According to the report from the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, deputies also noticed what they believed to be fresh tire tracks behind the house.

The home was unoccupied at the time. The owner had been laid to rest just two days before.

“The problem is, you know, being in a rural community on a back road, people take advantage of situations,” Dempsey said.

The Trumbull County Fire Investigation Unit says the fire’s cause is “undetermined,” but it is still under investigation.

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