Multiple fires are under investigation in Dayton and Trotwood after a recent surge in serious fires after which multiple people were found dead.
At least eight people were found dead following four fires in Montgomery County over the last eight days — including a fire in Dayton that officials said was one of the most tragic fires in the city’s history after five people were found dead.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is working to determine the cause and manner of deaths. It is not clear if the deaths were caused by the fires.
In the past three years there have been six total fire fatalities in Dayton.
March 5: Ashwood Avenue
The string of serious fires started March 5 after Dayton fire crews responded to a house fire in the 300 block of Ashwood Avenue.
When crews arrived, flames were showing. Firefighters went inside the home to search for residents and battle the fire.
They found a woman, Darlene Alston, and removed her from the house within two minutes of arriving, according to the Dayton Fire Department. The 71-year-old’s injuries were not survivable and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire department said it was the first fire fatality of the year.
March 8: North Broadway Street
Three days later, on March 8, Dayton firefighters went to a large fire in the 500 block of North Broadway Street.
Smoke was visible from more than a mile away. When crews arrived, they found a two-story house with heavy fire coming from back on both floors.
Crews went inside to search for any occupants, but within four minutes the incident commander ordered all crews to come out due to the intense fire conditions and a collapse.
Once the fire was under the control, the incident commander issued a demolition order for the house. During the demolition, crews found the first body in the debris.
The demolition was immediately halted and cadaver dogs and the coroner’s office were called to the scene.
By 9:45 p.m., five bodies were recovered. None of their identities have been released.
The fire department called it “one of the most tragic fire incidents for loss of life in the history of the City of Dayton.”
A limited liability company purchased the house last year, but the residence did not have electricity, water or heat. Gas service hadn’t been active for about a decade.
A homeless man named Jordan Trent told the Dayton Daily News he had been staying in the house and barely made it out alive. He said multiple people stayed at the house because it was in good shape and safe.
Trent said he doesn’t know what caused the fire, but the group was using candles for heat.
Dayton Fire Chief Jeff Lykins said last week they may never be able to determine what caused the fire, but that it remains an open investigation.
March 12: Gardendale Avenue
On Sunday a man was pronounced dead following a house fire in the 5300 block of Gardendale Avenue in Trotwood.
When firefighters arrived, they found a man and multiple dogs inside the house, according to the Trotwood Police Department. The man was identified as 26-year-old Jaykwan Hardy.
Police are investigating Hardy’s death as a homicide with the fire department’s assistance.
Police declined to release additional details, but asked anyone with information to call detectives at 937-854-3988.
March 13: Bierce Avenue
One person is dead following a fire in the 100 block of Bierce Avenue in Dayton Monday evening.
Crews were called to the scene around 7:50 p.m. after a 911 caller reported a house had flames shooting out the front window, according to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch records. The caller also said two handicapped men lived at the house.
Firefighters arrived and immediately went inside to search for residents and control the fire. They found one victim during the primary search, but it was determined they suffered non-survivable injuries, according to the fire department.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed they were called to the scene.
A dead dog was also located during the search.
The fire department asked anyone with information to call the Dayton Fire Department Investigation Unit at 937-333-TIPS (8477).
We are working to learn more and will update this story as details are released.
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