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A fire of unknown cause broke out in the northwest-most building at the 52-unit Hawthorne Place apartment complex early Aug. 12, 2023. As a result of the significant damage to one of the eight-unit buildings, and part of another, 11 tenants and families were displaced from their homes. (Submitted photo)

Man arrested in connection with Hawthorne Apartments fire

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On Monday, Feb. 26, local resident Ty Allen Arnold was arrested in connection to the fire that erupted at the Hawthorne Place Apartments last summer.

Arnold, 24, is being charged with aggravated arson, burglary and possessing criminal tools. He is presently in custody at the Greene County Jail. 

The News was informed of the arrest by Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief Denny Powell, who said that Arnold provided investigators from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office with a “partial confession.” Powell said Arnold, who was allegedly in possession of fire accelerants at the time of the fire, raised suspicions not long after the blaze was extinguished when he made “unusual comments” to first responders.

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The exact cause of the fire, however, remains under investigation by the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Fire Marshal Senior Public Information Officer Andy Ellinger said that although relevant information has been turned over to a prosecution team, the case will likely remain open through any sentencing “out of an abundance of caution” to “not foul up the process.”

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor Yellow Springs Chief of Police Paige Burge responded to News inquiries before press time.

The fire at the 52-unit apartment complex occurred around 4 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, of last year, and ultimately displaced 11 families and individual tenants. The only injury sustained from the fire was a Miami Township Fire-Rescue first responder who wounded their knee during the eight-hour battle with the blaze.

The fire originated in unit 115 in the northwest building of the Hawthorne complex; the unit was not occupied by Arnold at the time of the fire, according to apartment owner Tina Lagos.

“I’m glad they found somebody, but that name does not ring a bell,” Lagos told the News earlier this week.

As a result of the fire and its extinguishing, units 115 through 122 were destroyed. An additional three units in the adjacent building experienced an electrical malfunction. All 11 units were condemned by the state fire marshal following the blaze.

Lagos said she doesn’t know whether she will rebuild or refurbish the affected units, but that she is “working on plans.”

Just as Powell told the News in the aftermath of the fire, he said this week that the blaze was able to spread quickly through the complex because of the shared attic space between the units.

“When that building was constructed [in 1966] it had a flat roof,” Powell previously said. “Later a pitched steel roof was added on top, creating a void space above all the ceilings that’s difficult to vent and get water into.”

The News will continue to provide updates as they are made available.

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