DAYTON — Unusual developments over the last two days have surrounded a garage fire in Dayton where a body was found the next day.
On Monday, the fire broke out at the garage in the first block of North Horton Street. Firefighters at the time said no one was hurt. Then on Tuesday, investigators rushed to the same garage after someone found a body inside.
The body now is at the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Investigators have important questions to answer: Who is the person, how did this person die, and perhaps most key to this case — was he or she in the garage when the fire broke out, or arrive after?
It all started around 5 a.m. Monday morning when fire crews responded to the burning garage. Fire crews said no one was hurt, but that it appeared someone had been living there.
More than 24 hours later, crews were called again. But not for a fire.
“There’s a dead body inside the garage. Burnt,” according to a call following the discovery that came around 11 a.m. Tuesday.
But a woman who did not want to be identified said she thinks someone knew about the body much earlier. She took videos and pictures of the garage Monday afternoon, which she said show multiple people rummaging around the burnt garage. She said they were talking about a body.
“I heard the guy say he’s still there and started taking a stick and poking around toward the back end of the garage, and the lady said ‘yes, I know. I got his wallet.’
“The gentleman with the stick that I seen, he was taking it and poking it and said ‘he’s back there on the beige couch’ and I’m looking like ... I know there’s somebody in there and I’m not about to walk over there, but they keep saying ‘he’s there he’s there.’”
The woman said she and her boyfriend decided to leave the area, hoping it wasn’t what they thought. But after seeing Cudahy’s reports at 5 and 6 p.m. on Channel 7, said they regret it.
“I should have called somebody. If he was still in there maybe he might not have been dead at the time and he was just, I don’t know, barely breathing,” she said.
The woman also said she is now wondering whether firefighters missed something as they searched Monday morning.
“I think it’s kind of scary that they didn’t even take the time to look and make sure there was nobody in there,” she said.
Dayton Fire Department officials said there are still a lot of unknowns in this case, including whether the deceased person was in the garage at the time of the fire.