Rash of fires strikes Switzerland County as volunteers battle warm weather and hot flames

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Switzerland County was hit with three fires on Tuesday, forcing volunteer firefighters to not only battle the flames, but also deal with the hot weather.

On Tuesday morning at approximately 6 a.m. Switzerland County 911 dispatch received a call of a house fire at 2303 South Drive in the Ohio Valley Land Development.

The home was the residence of Ron and Linda Harris, who reported that the fire started in the garage but quickly spread through the entire residence.

George Miller of the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department said that the house and garage are total losses, and that firefighters were on the scene for approximately four hours before getting the situation under control.

Responding to the scene were fire departments from Patriot, Posey Township, and Rising Sun; along with Switzerland County EMS and the Switzerland County Sheriff’s department.

“No one was hurt, and everyone was able to get out, that’s the important thing,” George Miller said.

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Just after noon on Tuesday Ron Thornton said that he was relaxing on the front porch of his home when he heard a “racket” coming from the vicinity of his business, Thornton’s Garage, on York Street.

“I heard my daughter in law yell, and I knew something was terribly wrong,” Ron Thornton said.

Greg Thornton, Ron’s son and co-owner of the business, said that he was working on a 1935 Ford when he dropped the trouble light that he was holding.

“When it hit the floor, it just exploded,” Greg Thornton said. “I don’t know if there was a gas leak with the car or what, but the whole place just went up.”

Working against the spreading fire, the Thornton’s called for the fire department and then began to frantically move as many vehicles away from the flames as possible.

The fire quickly engulfed the business, and soon caused melting of vinyl siding on nearby houses. The home of Bill and Mickie McCalip, which is just north of the garage, suffered heat and smoke damage; while the homes of Millie Coy and Naomi and Vickie Johnson both suffered melted siding.

The garage behind the home of Fern Seegers was hit by floating cinders and high temperatures, bursting into flames and suffering a complete loss.

The fire caused volunteers to work in two locations – continuing to battle the Thornton’s Garage fire while attempting to save the Fern Seegers’ garage.

The fire also caused all electric service in the town of Vevay to go off. Workers with Duke Energy were able to restore power after about two hours.

The scene in Vevay was handled by the Jefferson-Craig Volunteer Fire Department, along with assistance from the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department, the East Enterprise Volunteer Fire Department, Switzerland County EMS, the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department, and the Vevay Town Police Department.

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At the same time that firefighters were battling the Thornton’s Garage, firefighters also responded to a residence fire on Pendleton Run Road.

Switzerland County dispatch received a call at approximately 12:39 p.m. to a fire on Pendleton Run Road.

The owners of the home, William and Karen Beegley, live in Cincinnati, so the house was unoccupied at the time of the blaze. Dispatch contacted the police department in Lockland, Ohio, who contacted the property owners.

Because of the ongoing fire in Vevay, members of the Moorefield Community Volunteer Fire Department were sent to the Pendleton Run address.