By Wayne Allen
One investigation into the Emmitt House fire earlier this year has reportedly ended, while the investigation by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office continues. On Wednesday Pam Ison, owner of the former Emmitt House posted on Facebook that the insurance company’s investigation of the fire is over.
“The insurance investigation is over. After hours and hours of questions and answers, Polygraphs, interviews with employees, hours of security videos from a 16 camera security system, it’s over,” Ison wrote. “The fire started upstairs on the second floor, above the exercise studio. There was a gas furnace, the night of the fire it was below 0 (zero) degrees, the old furnace was working hard to keep the building warm. It worked too hard.”
Ison wrote that she has not decided what to do as far as rebuilding.
“I do know that clean up is to start very soon. The company Rock Solid will be doing that work. The contract will be signed in the next couple of days. There is a 10 day waiting period with the EPA after the contractor puts in the proper paper work to start the clean up,” Ison said.
Ison could not be reached Wednesday for a direct comment, but Michael Duchesne, assistant director of communications with the Ohio Department of Commerce said their investigation into the fire is still ongoing.
“We have heard the same thing everyone else has, that the insurance company has wrapped up its investigation. That is exclusive to them, our investigation remains ongoing and the cause is still undetermined at this time,” Duchesne said.
The origins of the building dates back to the 1800s when it was constructed and opened as a hotel. According to information at www.travelohio.com, “the year 1861 may have been the most traumatic year in this nation’s history. The nation was split by civil war, and the first man from Waverly was killed in battle, John Barnes, had died in June, 1861. Waverly resident’s, caught in the national war frenzy, still took time out to admire the construction of James Emmitt’s new hotel at the corner of Water and Market streets. The Emmitt House was being constructed on the site of an earlier frame hotel, originally owned by a former business partner of James Emmitt. Emmitt, the town’s main entrepreneur, was building the hotel in anticipation of his greatest political achievement, the transfer of the county seat from Piketon to Waverly. The Emmitt House is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.”
The exact cause of the fire is not yet known. Duchesne said anyone with information, photos or videos at or around the start of the fire should call 1-800-589-2728.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT