SIDNEY — An early morning fire Monday has claimed the life of a man.
Thomas “Tommy” A. Schroer, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene of the fire at his residence, 1300 S. Main Ave. Shelby County Coroner Dr. A. David McDonald identified the victim Tuesday and said a cause of death has not been determined. “It probably was smoke inhalation, but it’s not finalized yet,” he said. He said tests to determine the cause of death will take several weeks.
Funeral arrangements for Schroer are pending at Cromes Funeral Home.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office, along with the Sidney Fire Investigation Unit and the Shelby County Coroner’s Office, coordinated the removal of Schroer’s body, which was taken to Miami Valley Coroner’s Office for identification and autopsy.
Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones said Tuesday the fire is still under investigation. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators do know where it started. Jones declined say what that location was as the investigation continues.
The Sidney Fire Department was dispatched to the structure fire at 1300 S. Main Ave. at 7:36 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7. Upon arrival, the firefighters found smoke showing from the roof eaves of the single-story house.
Jones said his department always treats each fire as if there is a victim inside.
“We were about 5 to 10 minutes into the incident when we were told someone might be inside,” said Jones. “But we always treat a fire like there’s someone inside.”
The initial crews on the scene conducted an interior fire attack in conjunction with a primary search of the structure for victims. During the initial search and suppression efforts, the conditions of the fire/structure became unsafe for interior operations.
“The problem we encountered was the interior conditions were so unsafe,” said Jones of the initial fight to extinguish the fire. “The roof began to collapse and the attic space was involved. It was way too dangerous to continue to search. We had to get the fire under control first.”
Interior crews were redeployed into defensive positions and extinguished the remaining fire from exterior hose lines. After the fire was brought under control, crews were able to regain access into the structure. During the secondary and additional searches, they located the body of a deceased male in the garage of the home.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation in coordination with the Sidney Fire Investigation Unit and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The structure and contents are a total loss, with damage estimates to be released at a future time.
Fire crews from Anna, Botkins, Port Jefferson and Lockington, as well as all off-duty Sidney fire personnel assisted with fire suppression. Port Jefferson EMS also helped cover Sidney Fire and EMS medic calls during the incident.
This is the second fire within a year which has claimed a life in Sidney — and on the same date. On Dec. 7, 2014, a fire in a home on North Walnut Avenue claimed the life of Jeffrey Scott Hughes, 50. Thirteen other occupants of the house were able to escape the fire with the help of rescue personnel, police and neighbors. Derek Eilerman, of St. Marys, was arrested and charged in the fire, which was a supposed “prank gone wrong.”