Report: Batteries were out of smoke detectors during fatal Fairfield Twp. fire

Three artificial blue flowers were attached Tuesday to the chain-link fence surrounding the home of Robert T. Tuttle Jr., who was discovered dead Saturday afternoon following a fire at his Parrish Avenue home.

Tuttle, 53, was found on a couch in the living room near his home’s front door after flames were seen shooting out of windows and the door of the one-story home, according to Fairfield Twp. Fire Chief Timothy Thomas. Two pets also died in the fire, he said.

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Township fire crews were dispatched at around 1:40 p.m. Saturday, and crews made an interior attack into the house. The fire was knocked down in about 10 minutes, Thomas said.

“It appears to be accidental, nothing out of the ordinary discovered in the autopsy,” said Fairfield Twp. police Sgt. Jamie Mays. “There’s nothing that appears to be suspicious.”

It appears the fire was an electrical fire, according to a Fairfield Twp. police report. Citing the fire marshal, the police report indicates the fire appears to have started with Tuttle’s entertainment equipment “in the northwest corner of the living room where the victim was most likely sleeping on the couch.”

All smoke detectors inside the home did not contain any batteries, the report read.

An autopsy was conducted Monday morning, and the cause of Tuttle’s death is pending further investigation, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

However, the police report indicates Tuttle inhaled smoke from the fire and most likely died as a result. Body fluids have been sent to an outside lab to be tested, according to the police report.

The fire remains under investigation by the Butler County Fire Investigation Team, according to the township fire department.

A Fairfield Twp. firefighter was treated at West Chester Hospital for heat exhaustion, Thomas said. He said the firefighter returned to duty within an hour of treatment.

It’s estimated the house sustained $52,000 in damages to the structure and contents. The house is valued at $63,130, according to the county auditor’s office.

Hamilton, West Chester Twp., and Liberty Twp. fire departments provided Fairfield Twp. with mutual aid in extinguishing the fire, Thomas said.