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Newburgh Hts. police chief says butane torch used to kill weeds may have started four-house fire

Posted at 9:37 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 13:52:32-04

NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Newburgh Heights homeowner using a butane torch to burn away weeds may have been what caused Monday's four-house fire, according to Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy.

Video taken by a neighbor shows flames and smoke pouring from the fire that started between two houses on Pearse Avenue. Majoy said he was the first to arrive after the call came in at 3:45 p.m. Monday. Firefighters worked for four hours putting out the flames.

Firefighters and police evacuated the houses on either side of the two houses on Pearse Avenue that had caught fire, as well as the houses on either side of a third house that caught fire on McGregor Avenue, behind the two on Pearse Avenue.

On Monday, firefighters said they had a "pretty good idea" of what started it. Majoy also said on Monday that, "there does appear to be some sort of act of negligence at this point, and so we’ll be launching a criminal investigation into that to decide whether criminal charges would be appropriate."

There were no injuries reported in the fire, except for one family being unable to locate their cat, which is believed to have died in the fire, Majoy said on Tuesday.

A man talking with neighbors on Pearse Avenue said he owned three houses that caught fire, but he did not want to speak to News 5 or give any other information.

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