Chief: Discarded smoking material sparks Vandalia apartment fire

UPDATE @ 5:20 p.m. (May 10): A fire that left an apartment building uninhabitable was caused by improper disposal of smoking materials, Vandalia Fire Chief Chad Follick said this evening.

The second floor is a total loss, and there are still two cats unaccounted for in the fire reported around 8 p.m. Wednesday at the complex on Stewville Drive.



UPDATE @ 10:05 p.m.: Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire at the four-plex on Stewville Drive in Vandalia that has displaced as many as six residents and nearly trapped firefighters searching the second floor when the roof collapsed.

“The second floor is heavily damaged,” Vandalia Fire Chief Chad Follick said. “The first floor is damaged primarily by smoke and water.”

Follick said crews are continuing to search the rubble for pets that might not have been able to escape. The American Red Cross has been called to assist the residents.

Police and a person identified as a city employee were working to get the residents out of the burning building as fire crews arrived, the chief said. One person still inside after fire crews arrived managed to get out uninjured.

Presley Garcia said he and his friend, Evan, rushed to the building to warn the residents to get out. Garcia, who lives several blocks away on Cornish Drive, said he was on an evening run to his friend’s house when he saw the smoke.

He said he and Evan ran inside the building, which was filling with smoke.

“We start banging on doors trying to get people to come out,” Garcia said of himself and Evan.

Follick said wind at the roof line made the roof fire develop quickly, so much so that firefighters, once they were forced out by the falling roof, took a defensive position in dealing with the flames and smoke. None of the firefighters was injured.

Multiple investigators are on scene, working to establish the fire's origin and cause.

Crews from Bethel in Tipp City, Clayton and Harrison Twp. also were dispatched to assist with the two-alarm fire, along with crews from Huber Heights, Butler Twp. and Englewood, the chief said.

UPDATE @ 9:12 p.m.:

The roof of a four-plex apartment building in the 900 block of Stewville Drive continues to burn at this hour as crews, from ladder trucks, continue to spray the building.

There are no reported injuries, Vandalia fire officials tell us.

Crews arrived to find the roof fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters quickly ran inside the two-story building to check for victims, but had to scramble out because the burning roof began to fall in on them.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Former NKor detainee Jeff Fowle 'guardedly optimistic'

The fire is believed to have started on the second floor. A fire investigator has been dispatched.

Crews from Huber Heights, Butler Twp. and Englewood are assisting Vandalia.


Fire crews were dispatched to a small apartment complex in the 900 block of Stewville Drive this evening.

Crews were dispatched at 7:59 p.m. for a parking structure fire, police confirmed.

They are still working to get it knocked down.

We are on our way to the scene and will update with further details as they become available.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to 

About the Author