Home News Athens County Fire Investigation Finds No Foul Play, in Death of 5

Athens County Fire Investigation Finds No Foul Play, in Death of 5


Athens, Ohio (February 19, 2024) – The Division of State Fire Marshal has concluded its investigation into the tragic fire that claimed five lives on November 23rd, 2023, at a residence on Rainbow Lake Road in Athens. While the official cause remains undetermined, authorities ruled out arson and identified several potential contributing factors.

Investigation Summary:

  • Joint Effort: The inquiry involved extensive collaboration with the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office.
  • Multiple Interviews: Numerous individuals with potential knowledge about the incident were interviewed to gather comprehensive information.
  • Scene Examination: Fire investigators conducted a thorough analysis of the burned structure, comprising two connected single-wide mobile homes.
  • Coroner’s Role: Autopsies on the deceased occupants were performed to aid in identification.

Undetermined Cause, Underlying Risks:

While the investigation cannot pinpoint the exact source of the fire, it identified several potential contributors within the residence:

  • Improper Electrical Cord Use: Misuse of electrical cords poses a significant fire hazard.
  • Alternative Heating Methods: Utilizing unsafe or unconventional heating sources can be extremely dangerous.
  • Hoarding: Cluttered living spaces with combustible materials can amplify fire risks.

Community and Safety Message:

The Division of State Fire Marshal extends its gratitude to the community for their cooperation during the investigation. To prevent similar tragedies, they urge residents to:

  • Install and maintain functioning smoke detectors.
  • Plug space heaters directly into approved outlets.
  • Never use daisy-chained electrical cords.

Fire safety begins with awareness and proactive measures. By taking these steps, residents can significantly reduce the risk of fires and protect themselves and loved ones.