WARREN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The Trumbull County Fire Investigation Unit is investigating a vacant house fire that happened in Warren Township – the site of a fatal stabbing three years ago.
“It’s a very quiet neighborhood. We don’t have things like this happening over here. To see that again, it’s very shocking,” said Bert Amoline, who lives nearby.
The house on Kincaid East Road is where 71-year-old Milton Grumbling III was found stabbed to death in April of 2013. The suspect, 23-year-old Paul Heltzel, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in June of this year.
Firefighters are calling the house a total loss, saying there was severe damage to the inside walls. Even though the house doesn’t look damaged from the outside, investigators say it burned for over an hour before showing any signs of fire.
They believe the fire started in the basement.
“It was an accidental fire from our findings. Right now, we found some electrical issues that were going on,” Chief Matt Balut said.
People who live on Kincaid East are reminded of Grumbling’s gruesome murder every time they drive past the house.
“Here we go again. We’ve got flashing lights, and all kinds of cop cars, and firemen, and police, and ambulance and everything else rolling down here again,” Amoline said.
Now that it’s damaged from Thursday’s fire, they’re hoping it comes down.
“With all the tragedy that’s been here, I’d just assume, see it…taken down and destroyed. I don’t see it as ever being a property that someone’s gonna want to buy and own,” Amoline said. “Probably be the best thing is for this to just go away and become a nice field here. Especially now, it’s just a burned out house.”
The judge in Grumbling’s murder case said that while Heltzel did commit the crime, evidence overwhelmingly showed that he was suffering from “psychotic delusional beliefs” at the time of the stabbing, specifically schizophrenia.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the State Fire Marshal was investigating the fire. The story has been corrected to show that the Trumbull County Fire Investigation Unit is investigation. WKBN regrets the error.