VERNON TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Firefighters responded to a barn fire in Vernon Township Monday afternoon. When they got there, they found several unattached buildings on fire and a man with gunshot wounds dead in the basement.
911 caller: “I can’t find my uncle that lives here.”
Dispatcher: “OK, was he in the house?”
911 caller: “I don’t know, his car is here. I can’t find him.”
That 911 call put firefighters on high alert — at least one person inside the nearby house was unaccounted for.
“One of the crews did remove a victim from the residence who’s deceased,” said Burghill Vernon Fire Chief George Snyder.
Investigators said the man’s body was in the basement with a gunshot wound.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Trumbull County sheriff’s deputies were on the scene Monday evening.
Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe is calling the man’s death “suspicious.”
“We’re still in the infancy stage, as you can see. There’s still fires being put out and we’re speaking with witnesses right now,” he said.
When firefighters got there, the barn and a horse trailer were on fire, along with the side of the house furthest from the barn.
None of those buildings are attached. How the fires started is something investigators are still looking into.
“Right now, based on the initial reports, I have where the fires occurred but anything leading to what started the fire. That’s why I have the fire marshal’s office investigating,” Snyder said.
Investigators said the man lived at the home and was currently going through a divorce.
Editor’s note: Due to the nature of the investigation, we are no longer identifying the man who died. Investigators say it looks like he shot himself.