Man found dead in field fire


By Melody Vallieu

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MIAMI COUNTY — Two separate fires started over the weekend, including one which left a man dead in his neighbor’s yard.

According to Bethel Fire Department Captain Mike Arnold, firefighters responded to a field fire at 6185 Studebaker Road in Bethel Township around noon Sunday to find a man had perished in the fire.

The man, Arthur Jefferson Manley Jr., 77, of 6235 Studebaker Road, was found burned in the small field fire. Arnold said they do not yet know how the fire started, or what happened to the man that was found dead, or why he was in his neighbor’s yard.

Miami County Coroner Dr. William Ginn said according to a preliminary autopsy report on the victim, little suet was found in the man’s lungs, which means he had inhaled little smoke prior to his death. Dr. Ginn said this means the man likely had a medical incident that killed him prior to succumbing to the fire.

“There were no witnesses, so we don’t really know the story yet,” Arnold said. “No foul play is suspected.”

Arnold said it was a small field fire and that Bethel firefighters, along with a grass truck and medic from Tipp City, were able to extinguish the fire.

A Saturday evening fire at 1025 Ginghamsburg-Frederick Road in Tipp City burned about 6 acres of corn stubble, according to city of Tipp City Chief of Emergency Services Cameron J. Haller.

Haller said the fire started from an open burn that got out of control and started the field on fire.

“So it was unintentional, but the original fire was intentional,” said Haller, who said the residents were warned for the open burn.

Haller said firefighters used 3,400 gallons of water fighting the blaze. He said mutual aid was provided by Bethel, Butler, Ludlow Falls, Pleasant Hill, Vandalia and West Milton fire departments, along with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

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