Lakeview fire considered arson

Pet revived at scene


A fire that destroyed a vacant structure at 11165 State Route 366, Lakeview, and damaged a neighboring home overnight Saturday has been labeled arson after an investigation Monday by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.


A fire that destroyed a vacant structure at 11165 State Route 366, Lakeview, and damaged another home overnight Saturday is being investigated as arson. (EXAMINER PHOTO | RICK PITTS)

Lakeview Fire Department officials said the first structure was fully engulfed on arrival and had spread to the nearby duplex home owned by Matthew Bower, the lower half of which was occupied by a family of four, including Angela Smith and a 14-year-old child.

Damage to the second structure was estimated at $70,000 to $100,000. No injuries were reported and the American Red Cross provided emergency assistance to the family, which had no renter insurance.

The family lost clothing and other personal effects, but saved most of the Christmas presents.

Fire Chief Norm Spring said firefighters rescued one cat during the fire and an Indian Lake EMS squad resuscitated another after it was later found hidden in a closet.

Chief Spring said the fact that there were no occupants or utilities serving the first structure, owned by Scott Bowsher of Harrod, and the speed at which the fire progressed points to the use of an accelerant of some sort, yet to be determined by investigators. That structure, he noted, had been abandoned for three or four years, was scheduled for demolition and was not insured, the chief said.

Chief Spring said a crew of about 60 firefighters from his department, Indian Joint Fire District, Richland Township and Huntsville battled the blazes for about five hours and returned about two hours later to douse a rekindle and hot spots.

The fire remains under investigation.