Dayton investigators work to pinpoint cause of Hewitt Soap factory fire 

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 6:15 AM

AFTERMATH: Hewitt Soap Factory demolition

UPDATE @ 6:48 p.m.:

Dayton arson investigators continue their work to pinpoint the cause of a massive fire at the former Hewitt Soap Company factory.

The blaze was the city’s largest since the same property burned one year ago.

Friday afternoon and into the early evening, demolition crews knocked down the charred remains of the building on the northern end of Linden Avenue.

>>RELATED: Doppler radar captures large smoke plume from Hewitt Soap Company fire

Part of the structure collapsed during the fire, which could be seen from miles away. Sky7 captured that part of the incident. 

Sky7 captured a piece of the Hewitt Soap Factory wall crumbling and crashing to the sidewalk below. STAFF PHOTO/Jarod Thrush

Dayton Fire Chief Jeff Payne ordered the emergency demolition of large sections of what was left of the building. It was an immediate danger because the walls were at risk of collapse.

The part of the factory that burned in December 2006 already had been reduced to rubble. The city paid a demolition firm to clean up the site, and the project wrapped up in October. 

Brett Houseman, whose family owns the Hewitt Soap Company property, says the fire may have been started by a trespasser. He said the building attracts metal scrappers, vandals and other unwanted persons.

Houseman said he wants city leaders to get tougher on those who scrap metal illegally, and those who trespass in vacant buildings. He said they are a frequent problem, they can cause a lot of damage and they put people in danger.

"The city is not doing enough to stop this," he said. 

A 911 caller on his way to work around 6 a.m. called in the fire.

Linden Avenue, I think it's the old Hewitt Soap Factory again. It's smoking, it is smoking everywhere, I can see flames inside. I'm going to work, the smoke is just everywhere it's firing everywhere," the caller said.

“This was a really, really big fire, and when I got there, every floor was completely involved,” Payne said.  

The cause of the fire at the property in December 2016 has never been determined because the city had the southern portion of the factory complex razed and the site cleared. Area 50, a building between the two that caught fire, remains standing.  

Former Dayton soap factory’s bad year: 2 fires, collapse and demolition

WATCH as part of the exterior wall collapses to the ground below when the old Hewitt Soap Factory building caught fire for the second time in less than a year.

Today’s fire required a massive response. Six of the fire department’s eight engines responded, as well as three of the departement’s four fire trucks, officials said.  

Firefighters did not enter the factory building for safety reasons because the structure was at risk of collapsing.

Payne said the building’s age and remnants of soap products made at the factory might have affected how fast it burned. Payne said he was told the owners previously had secured all doors, and there wasn’t much inside.

He was unable to comment on why people were believed in the building before the fire.

PHOTOS: Flames shoot out of former Hewitt Soap Factory

Bob Ringo, facilities manager, is responsible for keeping the buildings secure. No one is allowed inside, except for the he and the owners. He said it’s been an “ongoing battle” to keep out the homeless.

RELATED: Dayton soap factory demolition

“I just take care of it -- keep it safe for everybody, keep all the riffraff out. I was in here (Thursday) about 3:30 p.m. and everything was fine,” he said. “I come to work today and they said it was on fire. I keep all of these buildings here safe. Keep them locked down, keep people from breaking in and stealing.”

PHOTOS: Flames shoot out of former Hewitt Soap Factory

The soap factory, founded in 1897, was in operation until 2004 when it was bought by a competitor. That competitor later closed the facility. At its peak, it was the nation’s second-largest maker of specialty soaps, including the small bars used in hotels.

Houseman thanked fire crews for their work, which included saving the Area 50 structure. Doors had been installed there as protection.

He said his family has been actively trying to sell the soap factory buildings. Two buildings at the north end of the property have attracted interest from a Canadian company, he said. Those two buildings are called Building 9 and Building 10.

RELATED: Dayton soap factory fire kindles memories of perfume smell

PHOTOS: Dayton neighbors unhappy with Hewitt Factory fire mess

The rest of the Hewitt Soap factory is on fire and Sky 7 was able to capture these images from East Third street

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Man upset over 97-cent coffee throws it at McDonald’s manager, police say

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 4:18 AM

Lacey, Washington,  police are asking the public to help identify a man who they say threw hot coffee at a McDonald's manager Friday morning. (KIRO7.com)
KIRO7.com
Lacey, Washington, police are asking the public to help identify a man who they say threw hot coffee at a McDonald's manager Friday morning. (KIRO7.com)(KIRO7.com)

Police in Lacey, Washington, are asking the public to help identify a man who they say threw hot coffee at a McDonald’s manager Friday morning. 

Investigators with the Lacey Police Department said a man walked into the restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee, but was upset over the 97-cent price.

>> Read more trending news 

After he received his coffee, the man poured it into his to-go mug and then demanded a refill from the manager. 

Investigators said the manager asked the man to leave after he got verbally abusive about the price of the coffee.

The man then got upset and threw the cup of hot coffee into the manager’s face and fled. 

Police said the manager had burns on her neck. KIRO reported that the manager was being treated for third-degree burns.

The man is being sought for simple assault, according to Lacey Police.

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Endangered Missing Adult Alert for Columbus man, 79, is canceled

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 7:53 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 11:51 PM

Stanley Lapczynski
Stanley Lapczynski

UPDATE @ 11:50 p.m.: The alert for the 79-year-old Columbus man has been canceled.

INITIAL REPORT

An Endangered Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a Columbus man. 

Stanley Lapcynski, 79, suffers from dementia and was last seen around noon Friday when he left his residence but did not return.

He stands 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a Home Depot shirt and blue jeans.

He is believed to be driving a dark green 2001 Chevrolet Aveo with Ohio plate FFW4599.

Anyone with information is urged to call police or the Ohio Attorney General Missing Persons Unit at 866-693-9171.

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Judge changes his mind: Woman who started fire in jail cell will stay locked up

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 4:27 PM


            Georgia Osborne, 35, of Middletown, pleaded no contest to first-degree misdemeanor arson Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court. She was originally charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17.
Georgia Osborne, 35, of Middletown, pleaded no contest to first-degree misdemeanor arson Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court. She was originally charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17.

A Middletown woman pleaded no contest to a lesser degree arson charge Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court.

Last week, Georgia Osborne, 35, was charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17. She used a lighter to catch a blanket on fire while she sat on the concrete floor, according to the police report. She sneaked the lighter into the jail, the report said.

FIRST REPORT: Woman started fire in jail cell when wait for hygiene products took too long

Osborne, represented by attorney James Calhoun, pleaded no contest to arson and criminal trespass and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for eight days served.

Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron initially said he would release Osborne on probation if she met with representatives from Access Counseling, provide a negative drug screen when she returns to court in two weeks, and not be charged with additional crimes.

But after meeting with Calhoun, the city prosecutor and a representative from Access Counseling, Sherron changed his mind. The judge revoked Osborne’s probation and sent her back to jail.

MORE: Middletown police are looking for dozens of people connected to recent drug investigations

After reviewing Osborne’s criminal history on his computer, Sherron noted that in 17 years, she had 53 cases in Middletown court.

“Is that something to be proud of?” Sherron asked her.

“It’s embarrassing,” Osborne said, burying her face in her right hand.

Osborne said she has a 4-month-old son and she had hoped to live with her mother, who was at the court hearing.

Outside the courtroom, Osborne’s mother said she was “pleased” Sherron decided to keep her daughter in jail.

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Oakwood investigating threat to high school

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:56 PM


            Oakwood police say no gun was used in a social media threat made today towards Oakwood High School.
Oakwood police say no gun was used in a social media threat made today towards Oakwood High School.

Oakwood school officials released details of its investigation into a threat made on social media to the school.

A concerned parent said a one-call alert was made from Principal Paul Waller, who said an Oakwood student posted a threat on social media but had removed the threat. Details of the threat were not made available.

MORE: Centerville mom claims autistic son punished, held in room

The school district issued the following statement regarding the incident.

“On Friday, May 25, Oakwood High School administrators were made aware of a possible threat of violence at the school that had been sent via Snapchat by an OHS student. Upon learning of the threat, administrators immediately reported this communication to the Oakwood Safety Department, and officers were sent to the school.

“Police investigated and determined it was not a credible threat. No weapons were found. The student who sent the message was taken into custody by OSD. The case will be referred to the Montgomery County Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office for potential charges.”

As part of the schools’ safety plan, students are taught if they see or hear something to say something, officials said. “Students followed that example today and reported the message to administrators,” the statement said, allowing the district and police to intervene.

“We understand situations such as this are concerning to parents, students and the Oakwood community. Oakwood Schools safety procedures, which have been put in place in the best interest of our students and staff, were followed. All are safe and classes have continued in session as normal.”

Oakwood police confirmed to this news organization that no gun was involved in the threat.

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