UPDATE @ 3:45 p.m. (Jan. 13):
A fire that destroyed a Mad River Twp. house Saturday has been ruled arson and deputies have arrested a Dayton man on preliminary charges connected to the blaze, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Christopher Ray Perdue, 31, remains booked in the Clark County Jail on preliminary charges of arson, burglary, possession of criminal tools, disrupting public services, criminal damaging and trespassing connected to three events Saturday, investigators said in a media release Monday afternoon.
Crews were first called to the 1500 block of Uplands Drive in Mad River Twp. around 10:15 p.m. Saturday after the blaze broke out inside a home. Firefighters said they initially found the house was nearly fully engulfed in flames when they arrived on the scene.
High winds, estimated between 40 and 50 mph, also made fighting the blaze more difficult, firefighters said.
While firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, deputies received two separate calls in the same area involving a suspicious person who would later be identified as Perdue, investigators said.
A woman who lives in a Dayton-Springfield Road home reported finding a man inside her house after hearing a noise. Deputies said the man, later identified as Perdue, claimed he was with the fire department and was checking on the occupants inside the house.
Perdue fled from the scene after the woman chased him out of her house and called 911.
Investigators said Perdue was also attempting to cut the electrical service lines with a saw at another house on Dayton Springfield Road before a man caught him in the act.
“Evidence was located that tied Perdue to both the forced entry into the home and the incident involving the cutting of electrical service to the second residence, Lt. Kristopher Shultz said in a media release.
“Additionally, evidence was located that indicated Perdue had not only made unlawful entry into the burning structure, but that he was also responsible for the resulting structure fire.”
Deputies said additional charges are pending upon completion of their investigation.
FIRST REPORT (Jan. 12):
Mad River Fire Chief Tim Wendling reported that it took six hours to put out a fire in the 1500 block of Uplands Drive.
The Mad River Fire Department arrived to the scene of the blaze at around 10:40 p.m., but the fire was not extinguished until 4 a.m. Wendling said the house was 90 percent involved by the time they arrived.
Due to wind that reached speeds of 40-49 mph, firefighters had to work to protect the surrounding properties. The fire damaged the siding of one adjacent property, but nearby properties were otherwise protected, Wendling said.
The wind made containing and dousing the fire more difficult, as the wind scattered water as they were trying to spray the fire. Wendling said they had to call in mutual aid for multiple tankers to finally put the fire out.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Bethel Twp., Springfield Twp. and Houston Fire Departments responded to the fire.
The occupant of the house was not home at the time that the fire was reported, but arrived back as firefighters were working to contain the fire, Wendling said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation