NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio — Newly-released body camera footage shows the moments after houses in Newburgh Heights caught fire.
Detectives are now investigating whether the fire was started by a homeowner who tried to burn away his weeds using a butane torch.
Three houses caught fire, while a fourth had severe smoke damage. Body camera footage shows firefighters from a number of different departments fighting back flames as police officers helped evacuate nearby houses.
“Police department, hello,” Officer T. Dankovich said as he opened the door of a house. “Guys, everyone’s got to get out now.”
Dankovich’s body camera showed his view as he ran from house to house, letting people know that houses were being evacuated due to the fire.
“Guys, there was just an explosion. We need to go,” Dankovich said. “I’m gonna grab the kid.”
He brought a child outside before returning to help the man inside the house carry out a dog in a crate.
While neighbors gathered outside, police and medics helped a woman with asthma who needed treatment. Police said no one was hurt, but that one family believed its cat died in the fire.
Police waited until Tuesday to announce officially that they were investigating whether the fire was started by a man trying to burn weeds with a butane torch, but police discussed how the fire may have started on the body camera footage.
“Really wondering if some guy started this,” Officer Dankovich said.
“Why’s that?” Chief John Majoy asked.
“Just odd,” Dankovich said.
Both men warned neighbors against breathing in the smoke.
“You guys are going to want to be inside,” Majoy told neighbors standing on a porch. “If you haven’t done so, close your windows, cause you really don’t know what’s burning, if it’s toxic or not, OK?”
No criminal charges have been filed yet in connection with this fire.