Cause of W. Seventh St. fire remains unknown

EAST LIVERPOOL – The cause of a fire that destroyed a West Seventh Street home and damaged three others last Thursday is still unknown, due to the extent of fire damage.

Assistant fire Chief Jeff Kreefer said Wednesday, “When there’s so much damage, it’s difficult to determine the cause.”

The house at 250 W. Seventh St. that was destroyed was owned by Rebecca Haney Jackson, whose address was not known, while the vacant house on the corner of West Seventh and Jefferson that was damaged is owned by Rachel L. Paradis of Virginia.

A third house at 244 W. Seventh and the fourth, at 620 Jefferson St., are both owned by Dorsey Stowers. They also were vacant.

A previous report incorrectly indicated Stowers’ rental home was on Jackson Street, not Jefferson Street.

Kreefer, who was officer in charge the day of the three-alarm fire, said that although Jackson’s house was destroyed, firefighters did an “outstanding job” keeping the majority of the fire contained to that house, especially considering how advanced the blaze was by the time it was reported.

“That one house was directly up against (Jackson’s house) and it was only three feet away from Stowers’. We left three of four structures standing and able to be repaired,” Kreefer pointed out.

None of the four houses were insured at the time of the fire, and Kreefer said the fact that the destroyed house wasn’t insured indicates it was not likely set ablaze purposely.

“Nobody saw anyone in there,” he said, adding, however, that Dorsey Stowers’ son, Brian, showed him a collection of hypodermic needles he had collected from around the vacant structure prior to the fire.