VINTON — A Saturday morning explosion at a mobile home in Vinton claimed the life of the man living there, and now investigators are trying to piece together what caused the fire.
Kenneth Ray Marcum, 33, was identified by the family as the sole victim in the fire that occurred at 624 Hartsook Road, Vinton. The explosion reportedly carried enough force to shake a neighboring residence. The neighbor, who was a relative to Marcum, called 9-1-1 at approximately 7 a.m. after being awakened by the blast. The witness said that Marcum lived in the mobile home alone but wasn’t certain if he was in the residence at the time of the blast. However, upon investigation, officials located the body of an unidentifed white male in the rubble, presumed to be that of Marcum.
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, State Fire Marshal’s Office and Vinton Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene of the incident. After processing the scene, Marcum’s body was turned over to the Gallia County Coroner. An autopsy was ordered.
The incident is currently being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and according to Public Information Officer Shane Cartmill, a debriefing will take place later this week among the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and the Gallia County Coroner.
Amidst a growing number of meth lab discoveries in Gallia and surrounding counties in recent weeks, rumors have circled in the community that the mobile home fire might be related to the illegal manufacture of drugs. However, Cartmill said that the State Fire Marshal’s investigation to date does not support such an assumption.
“There is nothing right now that indicates this fire is related to the manufacture of meth,” said Cartmill. “It appears to have been a propane gas explosion.”
Any new information resulting from this week’s debriefing will be released to the media and the public following the compilation of finalized reports.