By LARRY SHIELDS
Salem News staff writer
The State Fire Marshal's office has been unable to examine the scene of a fatal fire that claimed the life of a Salem man early Monday morning.
The homeowner, Raymond Lee Hilliard Jr., 54, died in the fire at his residence at 271 Ohio Ave., which also Monday caused damage to an adjacent home.
The fire completely leveled the 118 -year-old two story wood frame home.
Matt Mullins, a spokesman for the Division of State Fire Marshal, said Wednesday the area of origin and the cause of the fatal fire remained under investigation.
The wreckage was still smoldering early Wednesday morning.
Mullins said the general procedure in determining the cause and origin is to test material, interview witnesses, look at the damage and all the evidence."
He said there was no way to estimate when the investigation would conclude. Firefighters reported water pressure problems and Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said it was "nothing mechanical" just the capacity of that line ... the pumpers can pump more than a four-inch line can deliver."
Weingart said the city's current minimum line size is eight inches, but it will allow a six-inch line if there is nothing large in an area.
It was the first fatal fire in the city since1994.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org