Springfield Twp. trustee suspects arson in deadly fire - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Springfield Twp. trustee suspects arson in deadly fire

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SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH (WTOL) - A Springfield Township trustee said if the massive fire at the Hidden Cedars condo complex turns out to be arson, he will ask the Lucas County Sheriff's Office to increase patrols there.

Sunday night's fire, which killed two residents, was the fifth fire at the complex in 12 years.

Family members are convinced the victims are Olandia Keith Dixon, 58, and Robert McGhee, 61. The Lucas County Coroner's Office finished the autopsies and found the two people both died of smoke inhalation. Still, the coroner was unable to identify the victims; DNA tests will have to be performed, which could take a month.

The building remains a pile of rubble. Investigators from the state fire marshal's office have wrapped up their investigation on the scene. They are still trying to determine a cause and origin.

All while residents try to figure out what is next.

"Pure sadness. Loss of everything. Thirty-seven years of everything, just gone," said Dawn Halbert, who lived in Building G.

Halbert and her family were home when a fire overtook Building G. They managed to escape, but lost their pets in the fire. For Halbert, the night is haunting.

"That's what we heard: People trapped in their apartment, just screaming at the top of their lungs. People throwing their babies at people that are down below. I was just in shock. I couldn't do nothing but cry," recalled Halbert.

The state fire marshal's office and the Springfield Township Fire Department continue to investigate the deadly fire but said there is still no determination as to what caused it. Springfield Township's fire chief said the fire is suspicious.

Dawn hopes those answers will come soon to help her and her family move on.

"I want to know what happened. Was this something somebody did? Was it electrical? Whose fault is it? Who do we blame? I want answers," said Halbert.

Halbert did have renter's insurance and is back at her apartment with insurance agents assessing the damage of a devastating night.

The Red Cross continues to help the victims.

Meanwhile, the Springfield Township Fire Department has been visiting the site throughout the day to check for hot spots.

Trustee Bob Bethel does not think there is a way to shut down the complex even though it has had so many problems.

"It just appears that the circumstances are different in every one and so I don't know that there is anything that can really be done other than to try to keep an eye on it from a police presence," explained Bethel.

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