Gilman House Fire Ruled Arson

Marietta Times News Article // May 22, 2010

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

A fire that destroyed a vacant home at 1001 Gilman Ave. in Marietta early Friday morning has been ruled arson by the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office.

Shane Cartmill, with the fire marshal's office, said a Blue Ribbon Arson Award of up to $5,000 is also being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist or arsonists.

Cartmill said no one was injured in the 12:37 a.m. blaze that was initially reported by a passer-by who saw the blaze and notified authorities.

Rich Stewart, with the Marietta Fire Department, said flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived. Thick smoke billowed across Gilman north of the Washington Street Bridge until the fire was brought under control around 1 a.m.

The home's owner, Frank Stephens, was at the scene as all available firefighters worked to put out the fire. As he watched them work, Stephens said he had little doubt about the origin of the fire, since the utilities had been shut off for about a month.

"Somebody set it," he said. "It should not be on fire."

CSX tracks near the home were closed while firefighters laid fire hoses from water sources to the home.

Both southbound lanes of Gilman Avenue near the fire scene also were closed while firefighters battled the blaze.

Friday's fire is the second to be investigated as an arson at the same address.

In June 2009, a sofa and pile of debris were allegedly set ablaze on the back porch of the residence which, at that time, was being rented.

Arson was also ruled in a fire that occurred in a vacated mobile home at 305 Fearing St. on Marietta's west side in September 2009.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Anyone with information about Friday's Gilman Avenue fire is asked to contact the Ohio State Fire Marshal at (800) 589-2728, the Marietta Fire Department at 373-4631 or the Marietta Police Department at 376-2007.

Bonnie M. Wells

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