Lebanon Barn Fire Not Criminal Act

Published: November 24, 2010 07:49 pm EST

After a year-long investigation into the barn fire that occurred last December at Lebanon Raceway in Ohio, the State Fire Marshal’s Office released a report on Wednesday

stating that there was "no indication or evidence of a criminal act".

The fire occurred early morning on Dec. 5, 2009 in Barn 16 and resulted in the deaths of two grooms, Ronnie Williams and James “Turtle” Edwards, and 43 standardbred horses.

The report states that the fire originated in or around the area of an eight foot fixed wire electric baseboard heater in tack room No. 93 but the cause was "undetermined in nature". Investigators were unable to rule out failure of the heater, materials too close to a heat source, discarded smoking materials or a failure in the electrical system as causes.

According to the report, "insufficient evidence exists to find that (a) any violations of the Ohio Fire Code occurred that caused or contributed to the spread of the fire or (b) the occupancy of the structure at the time of the fire was inconsistent with the Ohio Fire Code." The State Fire Marshall could not recommend the filing of criminal or administrative charges against any entities or individuals based on the evidence.

Reports from the Warren County Coroner's Investigator indicated the two victims died of smoke inhalation with high blood alcohol and carbon monoxide levels.

To read the report in its entirety, click here.