Coal Grove fire ruled arson

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, July 8, 2009

COAL GROVE — The state fire marshal’s office has ruled a Tuesday evening fire that injured three people and left a Ridgeway Street home destroyed was intentionally set.

Ohio State Fire Marshal Public Information Officer Shane Cartmill said Wednesday the fire, which engulfed the single structure home at 206 Ridgeway St., was set intentionally by a female tenant of the home.

That tenant, Jonna Turley, 31, was arrested by Coal Grove Police on a charge of aggravated arson and is being held at the Lawrence County Jail.

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Coal Grove Police Chief Jason Bloomfield said Turley was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when police and firefighters arrived at the blaze.

As a precaution, Turley was taken by police to the Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth for evaluation before she was taken to the Lawrence County Jail.

Turley also had an outstanding warrant in Ironton Municipal Court for driving on a suspended license. Her arrest comes nearly one month to the day after the death of her mother, Rebecca Turley, who died June 6.

Coal Grove Fire Chief Gary Sherman said the home was currently being occupied by two adult females and three children. At the time of the fire, the three children were not at the residence.

The other female resident, whose name has not been released, was not in the house when fire was set. Bloomfield said the woman was across the street at the time of the alleged incident and like Jonna Turley, was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when police and fire arrived.

She has not been charged nor is considered an additional suspect.

The roommate was also injured in the blaze along with a neighbor and a Coal Grove firefighter. Sherman said all three suffered minor injuries.

Cartmill said the blaze originated in the living room of the dwelling. He would not comment on how the fire started or what, if any, types of accelerants were used. Sherman deemed the home “a total loss” and would not estimate a total dollar amount.

The fire was called into Lawrence County 911 at around 7:30 p.m. by a neighbor and took 30 minutes to put out due to the quick response time of rescue personnel, Bloomfield said. Fire departments from both Coal Grove and Upper Township responded.

County records show the owner of the property listed as Bill “Nud” Waddell, who Sherman said is not a suspect. The occupants rented the home from Waddell.

Fire investigators are continuing their investigation today.