Norwalk man faces arson charge

Cary Ashby • Jan 18, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Two fires handled by the Norwalk Fire Department remain under investigation by separate law enforcement agencies.

There were two fires at 28 Old Orchard Loop, reported at 6:24 a.m. Wednesday. Matthew L. Fisher, 39, of 15 Old State Road, later was charged with aggravated arson and transported to the Huron County Jail.

The barn fire at 4961 Old State Road was called in at 8:48 p.m. Saturday. 

Five firefighters in three trucks responded to the two fires on Old Orchard Loop, which were under control 21 minutes after the crew arrived. According to the report, “a fire was purposely set by one of the occupants,” which resulted in $10,000 worth of property damage and another $5,000 to the contents.

Firefighters were told each blaze in the mud room and bathroom was out when they were on the way.

“The mudroom is connected to the garage. The other one was on the other side of the house in the bathroom,” Capt. Rick Perry said.

Upon arrival, firefighters entered the residence and determined the homeowners used a fire extinguisher and blankets to put out the blazes.

“Fire crews reported smoldering fires in two separate locations of the structure. Fire crews also noticed a pour pattern from an accelerant connecting the two fires. While inside, the fire in the mud room reignited and was quickly extinguished by fire personnel,” Perry wrote in his report. 

“Windows and doors were opened to ventilate the structure by fire crews. The scene then was taped off by fire personnel to prevent all entry until the proper authorities arrived on scene.”

When asked about the pouring pattern of the possible accelerant, Perry said the trail “was very visible.”

“The state fire marshal took the samples. The state fire marshal was on the scene and confirmed there was an accelerant,” he added.

In addition to the state investigators, Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry, Detective Sgt. Dave Daniels and Detective Zach O’Neal responded to Old Orchard Loop. Fry said the 9-1-1 caller reported “his son set a fire inside his home.”

The suspect, Fisher, was arrested after a short investigation.

“He was located at the Hy-Miler. It’s adjacent to the entrance to the Whitefield subdivision, where Old Orchard Loop is located,” Fry said. “He requested to speak to an attorney.”

There were no injuries during the fires.

“We were very fortunate,” Fry said.

Detectives, joined by state fire marshal’s investigators at the scene, obtained a warrant, collected undisclosed evidence and conducted interviews, authorities said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Perry was at the Old State Road fire scene with fire marshal’s investigators and Huron County Sheriff’s Detective Ted Evans.

“They (fire marshal’s) dog didn’t hit on any accelerant at the scene,” Perry said.

Thirteen firefighters in five trucks responded 4961 Old State Road at 8:58 p.m. Saturday and had the blaze under control shortly afterward. Chief John Soisson said the cause is undetermined and the sheriff’s office is investigating the case.

The crew requested mutual aid from the Milan Township Volunteer Fire Department. According to the report, “the structure was fully involved” upon arrival.

Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Duncan said detectives met with fire marshal’s investigators at the scene Wednesday in an attempt to determine the cause.

“We are actively investigating it and following up on a few leads,” he added.

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