PDT Staff Writer
The Division of State Fire Marshal did not mince words when announcing the results of their investigation of the Thursday morning fire at Reinhardt’s Sales and Service, 7515 Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg.
“We have ruled the Reinhardt fire an arson,” said Shane Cartmill of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Minutes later, Tim Spradlin, chief of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, stood in front of Reinhardt’s and talked exclusively with the Portsmouth Daily Times.
“With our investigation of the scene they literally dug out all the debris and then we reconstructed the scene with the remains of the furniture and the office materials and everything,” Spradlin said. “We ruled out all accidental causes. There is nothing else it could be except a human act. That makes it incendiary, and that is arson.”
Spradlin then dropped the other shoe.
“It also includes a burglary,” Spradlin said. “And the (Scioto County) Sheriff’s Office is working that part of it.”
The Scioto County Sheriff’s office, while at the scene Monday afternoon, has not released information on the burglary.
The fire caused heavy damage to the building and also destroyed several pieces of equipment and truck parts, leaving an estimated loss of $2 million.
“We’re done with the scene from this point. We’re following up some other leads, continuing interviews with folks connected with the business and we will continue to communicate daily with the sheriff’s office and the Porter Township Fire Department on anything they hear locally,” Spradlin said.
A Blue Ribbon Arson Reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible.
“Somebody knows what happened, and that’s why we’re posting the reward. Hopefully it will spur someone’s civic duty to do the right thing and give us a call and tell us who did this.”
Anyone with information should contact the Division of State Fire Marshal at 800-589-2728.
Spradlin said that since his office is officially finished with investigating the scene of the fire Reinhardt personnel can now go about the job of cleaning up and rebuilding.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.