CINCINNATI (AP) — An early morning trailer home fire in southeast Ohio killed five people, including a toddler, and injured two other people, state and county officials said Tuesday.
Neighbors who called 911 reported hearing an explosion just after 4 a.m. Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said those reports were under investigation, and the cause of the fire was still unknown.
“Oh my God! … The trailer across the road just blew up,” reported the first caller, whose name wasn’t included in an audio recording released by the sheriff’s office. “I’m going to say they’re probably all there. Oh my Lord! Something just blew up over there. Holy crap!”
Phalen said four bodies, including one of a small child, were found Tuesday morning, and authorities recovered the fifth body several hours later.
“It’s completely gutted,” Phalen said. “There are partial walls that are up, but the inside is completely gone.”
He said a woman who appeared to be badly burned was taken to Ohio State University’s medical center, some 40 miles northwest of the rural lot where the trailer stood, outside the village of Sugar Grove. He said one of his sergeants, among the first to arrive, found the woman outside the trailer. He put his coat around her and put her in his cruiser until an ambulance arrived, he said.
A man was transported to nearby Fairfield Medical Center. The sheriff didn’t have information on their conditions.
He said authorities were clearing the scene after recovering the fifth body.
Names and relationships of those inside the trailer weren’t released immediately as authorities notified family members Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters from seven departments responded and were hindered by overnight snowfall on hilly two-lane roads, Phalen said.
“This is a rural area,” he said. “So it did take some time.”
The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office sent investigators to the site, which Phalen said was still smoldering several hours later.
The trailer home fire was the third multiple-death home fire in Ohio in less than four weeks.
Three children were killed in a Dec. 12 house fire in Hamilton, in southwest Ohio, and a woman and three grandchildren were killed Dec. 26 in a fire near Washington Court House, about 40 miles southwest of Columbus.
Fire Marshal’s spokeswoman Lindsey Burnworth said Tuesday that investigations of those fires were continuing.