DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton authorities spoke on Thursday after five bodies were found in a dangerous house fire.
On Wednesday, March 8, a fire broke out between two buildings on Broadway Street, south of West Riverview Avenue, with flames showing from all three stories of both buildings.
According to Dayton Fire Department Director and Chief Jeff Lykins, firefighters initially attempted to attack the fire from inside and search the building, however, they were driven out after the building started to collapse and heat reached temperatures such that the firefighter’s helmets began to melt. They were unable to complete their search before retreating.
After the fire was extinguished, crews began emergency demolition on the first two buildings. The demolition came to a halt when crews discovered the first body. By that evening, they recovered a total of five bodies from the deadly blaze. At this time, the coroner’s office has not released the identities of the victims.
Lykins said this may be the most victims found after a fire in Dayton Fire Department history.
“There’s no way to make this okay,” Lykins said. “It’s difficult for everybody. You know, I feel for our crews. It’s like I said, it’s a very difficult situation, and certainly for the entire community.”
While the homes were reported to be vacant, firefighters later learned that around 12 squatters had been seen going in and out of the house.
Investigators are unsure what may have started the fire. Chief Lykins said the damage caused by the fire necessitated demolishing the buildings, which removed the chance to collect helpful forensic information.
At this time, investigators are expecting information from the coroner’s office to help determine what might have happened.