Early morning blaze kills one

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

A Williamstown man died in an early morning fire on Dec. 2 near the Grant/Pendleton county line.

The home at 199 Moore Road, off Hogg Ridge Road, was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters from Dry Ridge, Williamstown and Falmouth arrived around 2:35 a.m.

Police have declined to identify the victim until an autopsy is performed. But neighbors said it was Kenneth Searp.

Firefighters discovered the body, believed to be that of a male in his mid-50s, inside a bedroom of the home. The body was taken to the Northern Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office by the Pendleton County coroner’s office.

Firefighters had trouble locating the fire.

Dry Ridge firefighters were sent to Knoxville and Day Roads, while Williamstown firefighters were sent to Fairview Road, said Kenny Ball, a firefighter/paramedic with Dry Ridge.

“It was completely gone when we got there,” Ball said.

The 911 call came from a resident of Latimer Lane, who reported seeing flames but couldn’t tell exactly where they were coming from, Ball said.

Firefighters suspected there may be someone inside the residence because there were cars in the driveway but no one was outside the home.

Firefighters were able to talk to a neighbor who told them about the man who lived there.

“The neighbor was familiar with the layout of the home and told us which bedroom he slept in, so we focused on that area,” Ball said.

Calvin Crupper of the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office, as well as Kentucky State Police Arson Investigator Curtis Combs and KSP Detective Scott Lengle are investigating.

The origin of the fire has not yet been determined but it may have been a wood stove used to heat the home.

Firefighters said conditions were windy, which may have contributed to the fire spreading quickly through the wood frame farm house.