LISBON - The State Fire Marshal's Office and Columbiana County Arson Task Force are investigating a fire of undetermined origin that destroyed a Lisbon-area home and garage Thursday night.
The fire at the home of Donald Curfman Jr., 11000 Black Road, Center Township, was called in before midnight by a passing motorist. The home and garage were fully engulfed in flames by the time the first firefighters arrived, according to Lisbon Fire Chief David Lewton.
Another detached garage had also been on fire at some point but burned itself out before firefighters arrived. Lewton noticed the main door to the detached garage had a footprint on it and appeared to be damaged, prompting him to notify the county sheriff's office.
Lewton said the Curfmans were not home at the time and he had yet to make contact with them as of Friday afternoon. He said the home was the subject of a minor fire call in December, which is how they were able to determine who resides there.
He said they were unable to determine the cause of the fires, which is why the fire marshal's office and arson task force were called in. Investigators were at the property Friday morning to collect evidence.
The Curfmans are defendants in a lawsuit filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court by Mr. Curfman's former employer, Witmer's Feed & Grain, Renkenberger Road, Columbiana. The lawsuit accuses the Curfmans and the other defendants of defrauding Witmer's of $1.1 million over four years. Witmer's obtained a hold on some of Curfman's assets pending the outcome of the lawsuit, which is scheduled for trial in November. Mr. Curfman has admitted participating in a scheme to defraud local farmers but claims he did so at Witmer's direction and that the company also benefitted.
Lewton reported that Lisbon responded with eight firefighters and three trucks, while the West Point Fire Department provided mutual aid with three firefighters and a truck.