Sunday, March 11, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Fatal fire blamed on aquarium light

        GREEN TOWNSHIP — A malfunctioning aquarium light caused the fire that killed 69-year-old Joan Marchetti on Friday, Green Township fire officials said.

        Firefighters spent most of Saturday digging through the remnants of her small single-family home on Townhill Lane, in western Hamilton County, township Fire Lt. Mike Nie said.

        The fire caused $110,000 in damage. Mrs. Marchetti's body was found in the kitchen about two hours after the fire started. Crews were unable to quickly enter the house because parts of the floors had collapsed.

        Mrs. Marchetti lived in the home with her husband, Mike. She was home alone when the flames broke out, fire officials have said.

Man charged with setting four car fires

        Cincinnati Police arrested a Westwood man accused of setting four car fires - including one that spread to a home - early Saturday.

        Butch Vaughn II, 22, of the 3200 block of Lakeview Avenue, is charged with two counts of aggravated arson, according to Cincinnati police. He is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center.

        The string of car fires began near the Western Hills Plaza shortly before 4 a.m. and ended at 5:40 a.m. at Janlin Court, Cincinnati Fire Lt. Tom Kleier said. That fire spread to another home, causing $25,000 in damage to the house.

        The owner of the home said he was sleeping when he woke up to a noise and noticed what seemed like a “yellow strobe light” shining into his bedroom window. The man said he didn't know Mr. Vaughn and has no idea why his van was targeted.

Two schools win in math competition

        Students from two Sycamore schools clinched top honors Saturday in a statewide competition that tests problem-solving and math skills.

        A team from Sycamore Junior High placed first in the Ohio Mathcounts competition held at Columbus State Community College. Sixth-graders at E.H. Greene Intermediate School took third place.

        Saturday's victory was Sycamore Junior High's fourth in state competition. The school also took first place in 1994, 1998 and 1999.

        Mathcounts, sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers and Industries, aims to increase the interest and involvement among middle school students to develop a technically literate U.S. population.

Ruling on Firstar property upheld

        An appeals court affirmed a lower court's order that Hamilton County must file an “appropriation action” on how much it must pay Firstar Center's owners for property it took to build the Great American Ball Park.

        Ohio's First District Court of Appeals affirmed Friday that the county has 20 days to determine what it will pay Firstar Center owner, Cincinnati Entertainment Associates, for taking its property rights.

        Originally, Cincinnati Entertainment had sued to halt construction of the new ballpark, but Judge Robert Ruehlman refused, saying it would be too expensive and could delay the ballpark's opening. That allowed demolition crews to destroy parking spaces and other structures around Firstar.

Fund established for injured firefighter

        A fund has been set up through Fifth Third Bank for firefighter Bill Ellison, who was critically burned fighting a house fire on Jordan Road Thursday.

        Contributions may be made at any Fifth Third bank in his name.

        Mr. Ellison remained in critical condition at University Hospital Saturday with burns over 50 percent of his body.

        Damage to the house was estimated at $300,000 to $350,000, said Miami Township Assistant Fire Chief Steve Ober.

        Mr. Ober said Saturday he has not determined the cause of the fire, but expected to release more information by Monday.

        Mr. Ellison, who works for both the Miami Township (Hamilton County) and Anderson Township departments, lives in Clermont County.

Police say shootings might be related

        DAYTON, Ohio — Five people, including an 11-month-old baby, were wounded Saturday in four separate shootings that police said might be related.

        About 2:30 a.m., people in two cars began shooting at each other as one car chased the other to Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center, police said.

        Twelve hours later, a pickup truck with bullet holes in it pulled into Dayton police headquarters while being chased by another vehicle.

        “The scenarios are the same, the locations are similar,” Sgt. Gary White said. “Even now, we don't have any motive.” Police did not release the names of any of the wounded or anyone being interviewed by police. There were no arrests.

        At Good Samaritan, two people were treated for gunshot wounds, Sgt. Whitney Butler said. A woman was treated and released. A man was in good condition Saturday night.

        The car following them drove off when the first car pulled into the hospital lot.

        About 45 minutes later, shots were fired into a house, where a baby was struck in the head and his mother was shot in the shoulder, Sgt. Butler said.

        The mother was treated and released, Sgt. Butler said. The boy remained in fair condition at Children's Medical Center.

        No one was injured in the third incident, in which 30 to 40 shots were fired into another house about 3:45 a.m., according to a police report.

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Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report