Fulton County sheriff confirms body found after home explosion, fire

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    The remains of a family's home along U.S. 20-A just west of Swanton, where the Fulton County Sheriff's Office confirmed a body was recovered after a home explosion late Wednesday, August 31, 2017, in Swan Creek Township

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  • SWANTON — The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a body was recovered after a home explosion late Wednesday in Swan Creek Township.

    Authorities will not release the name until positive identification, Sheriff Roy Miller said.

    A fire and explosions destroyed a family’s home along U.S. 20-A just west of Swanton. It occurred during an incident that started with a gunman barricaded inside the residence, authorities on scene said.

    Onlookers heard blasts and watched a fire pour black smoke into the twilight near the scene, which prompted authorities about 7:30 p.m. to close the highway between County Road 2-2 and County Road 3.

    Deputies were dispatched to a home about 5:18 p.m. Wednesday in Swan Creek Township for a domestic violence incident. 

    The suspect entered the home and refused to come out. Deputies learned there were weapons inside the residence.

    A woman and two children were removed from the home by a victim advocate. A hostage negotiator was called to the scene, but negotiations with the suspect were unsuccessful, according to the sheriff’s office. 

    The suspect reportedly set the home on fire and a deputy attempted to enter the residence. The deputy smelled gas and retreated, according to the office. 

    At about 8:13 p.m., the home exploded. Thursday, authorities confirmed the explosion was caused by a propane leak.

    Swanton Fire Deputy Chief Gary Roytek said he was about 30 yards from the house when it exploded. He described the scene as slow motion.

    Family and friends could be seen gathering near a barn that stood standing.

    The home was completely leveled with debris wrapped around an excavator that was on the property. A barn with at least three horses, which were unharmed, remained.

    Before officials left the scene about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, they ensured the horses had food and water, Deputy Chief Roytek said.

    Several neighbors were at the residence Thursday morning wondering if anyone was caring for the animals.

    "That was one of the priorities when we got up there, was keep the fire away from the barn and keep the animals safe," said Deputy Chief Roytek.

    Court records show that Terry and Jennifer Daubenmeyer lived at the residence.

    When a woman who described herself as a family friend asked media to leave the property, The Blade asked if the woman was Jennifer.

    "Does it matter? she's grieving the loss of her husband."

    The nephew, who did not want to be named, said he drove from Lima after work to Swanton to see the home for himself.

    "I always thought my family was stronger than this." he said looking at the rubble. "It's just a shame," he added.

    The two weren't close, but he still felt like it was important to be supportive.

    "I don't know what truly would have led him to do this," he said. "I know they found a body, I really hope it wasn't him. But it's hard to say."

    Nate Yates, 59, of Swanton, lives about 1.5 miles from the scene. He said he and his wife were leaving to drive to their other house in Lima, but had to turn back because roads were blocked. Before they turned around, Mr. Yates, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said they drove past the house and saw what appeared to be a telephone pole down across the driveway.

    Once they were home, they heard a loud explosion, which Mr. Yates said “shook the house and made the windows rattle.” They drove toward the noise before they hit a roadblock and could see the fire in the distance.

    Police at the scene kept witnesses at least a third of a mile from the fire.

    Red Pass, 71, of Swanton, said he was going down U.S. 20-A about 5 p.m. near the intersection with 2-2 when he saw police cars lining up near the home. He said he drove by again about 35 minutes later and saw “officers with guns drawn.”

    The Ohio State Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation. The sheriff’s office is being assisted by the Swanton Police Department, Wauseon Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, the MAN Unit, Metamora Fire Department, Swanton Fire Department, Delta Fire Department, and the Fulton County Dog Warden.

    Contact Allison Reamer at areamer@theblade.com, 419-724-6506 or on Twitter @AllisonRBlade.

    Contact Mike Sigov at sigov@theblade.com, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.