Fire deliberate, suspect deceased

First Posted: 2/10/2015

BATH TOWNSHIP — A deliberately set fire Monday claimed the arsonist’s life.

James Taylor, 63, died at 11:06 p.m. Monday and authorities believe he was the one who set the fire, said Lindsey Burnwoth, public information officer with the State Fire Marshal’s office.

Just before 3 a.m. Monday, Bath Township Fire Department responded to heavy smoke and fire bellowing out of the front of 1100 McCullough St. in Lima, according to Chief Joseph Kitchen.

Bunwoth said investigators believe an accelerant was used, but were unsure of the exact type.

The fire was deemed aggravated arson by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office after investigators noticed the front bedroom of the home was significantly more destroyed than the remainder of the home, Kitchen said, noting that is where the origin of the fire was. Kitchen said that room was Taylor’s bedroom.

Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

“Early indications were that the fire was deliberately set, however, the circumstances to how and why are still being investigated,” Kitchen said. “It was reported to the Fire Department by the family that James Taylor was under medical care and had significant health issues and we are taking all of that into consideration as we continue our investigation.

“The early evidence points to Mr. Taylor as starting the fire, the question is, how did he do it and what was his intention,” he added. “The family has shared with us that he was a very ill person.”

Taylor was in serious condition when he was taken to Lima Memorial Health System. He suffered from injuries related to the fire, but ultimately lost his life to cancer, his son, Brian Taylor, said in a message to The Lima News through Facebook.

Officals were awaiting the official cause of death, Kitchen said. Allen County Coronor Dr. Gary Beasley did not return phone calls for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Kitchen said Brad Taylor had made statements to authorities when the Fire Department arrived on scene that he did pull his father outside, out of the fire to rescue him.

As of Tuesday, the case was still considered open and under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s office.

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