A fire was reported at the former Simonds facility, located on Heller Drive, Newcomerstown, on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The property was vacated approximately five years ago.
The fire, which was reportedly contained to a van that was parked inside the facility, caused only smoke damage to the facility.
The van was a total loss, according to Newcomerstown Fire Chief Bobby McGarry. However, the owner of the van has not been identified, according to Newcomerstown Chief of Police Chief Gary Holland. He said the license plates are registered to a pick-up truck and the vans vehicle identification number (VIN) was destroyed in the fire.
He said he is trying to reach the propertys owner to see if the van was being stored at the facility or if someone had illegally parked it there.
Chief Holland said he believes the fire was accidental because of a possible homeless person living at the property. He thinks a cigarette started the blaze, which had the Newcomerstown Emergency Rescue Squad - Fire Division on scene approximately two hours. He said they found no fire accelerants or cutting torches at the scene.
However, the police was able to catch two suspects stealing wire and scrap metal from the facility that same day. Chief Holland credits the watchful eye of citizens who called the police when they saw people entering the property as well as a flashlight inside the facility.
He urges the community to call the police at 498-6161 in case they see anything suspicious in the village.