Photos by Joe Awad

UPDATED: Firefighters on scene of Center Street blaze

Firefighters were slated to revisit the scene of a blaze in Lawrenceburg Wednesday morning, July 12, to determine what ignited the fire in a vacant house that was razed after it was blasted by more than 24,000 gallons of water.

As of Wednesday morning, July 12, the cause had not been determined but the wood-frame house in the 300 block of West Center Street, said Lawrenceburg Fire Chief Johnnie Tremain, adding a firefighter from Whitewater Township injured a knee in the high-intensity effort to knock down the high-intensity blaze.

The house had been vacant for several months, and there is no evidence at this time that vagrants were huddled inside when the fire broke out.

Lawrenceburg firefighters noticed smoke rising from the house at about 9:38 a.m., and began suiting up as Tremain drove around the block. He confirmed the fire and informed Dearborn County Dispatch.

The fire produced a huge plume of sooty-smelling black smoke that covered much of downtown Lawrenceburg.

 Flames shot out all sides of the structure, and kept burning red hot in the back from were only a limited number of firefighters could attack the blaze because the house backed into dense woods.

The blaze vanquished the structure from basement to attic due to its “balloon” construction, said Tremain, adding firefighters had no cause to enter because the vacant property recently was ruled unsafe.

Greendale firefighters used the city’s ladder truck to blast the blaze for over an hour, shooting more than 24,000 gallons into the upstairs and attic, said Greendale Fire Chief Shannon Craig.

“We have a button on the pump panel that tells us exactly how much water we used after we shut down. We used 24,100 gallons,” which he described as a “pretty good amount.”

Firefighters from Lawrenceburg, Greendale, Aurora, and Whitewater Township remained on the scene all day. About 20 firefighters and EMS responded.

The house address could not be confirmed as of Wednesday, but the structure was next store to 303 Center on the right-hand side facing west.

Firefighters stood on the porch of the house to the immediate west trying to spot if flames licking out were catching tree branches and leaves. The fire also nipped at the trees behind the structure. Nevertheless, a neighboring residence sustained roof damage, said Tremain.

The house, recently purchased by the city, was slated for demolition.