Apartment fire ruled electrical
WINTERSVILLE - A fire that severely damaged an apartment complex off Two Ridge Road Saturday morning has been ruled to be electrical in nature, said officials.
Wintersville Fire Chief Rob Herrington said the state Fire Marshal's Office supports his conclusion the fire at the Ridgewood Place apartment complex was electrical in origin.
Herrington said the fire started in the attic of the complex and was noticed by officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and Village Police, who had been dispatched to a domestic incident at another building nearby.
The officers reported the fire, which tore through the roof, and evacuated residents from the building, he said.
Herrington said no one was harmed by the blaze.
Firefighters from Wintersville, Richmond, Belevedere and Steubenville were able to contain the fire to the attic but the apartments below suffered extensive water and smoke damage.
Herrington said the local chapter of the American Red Cross has offered the residents assistance in seeking other accommodations.
Empire man pleads guilty
COLUMBUS - An Empire man has pleaded guilty in Franklin County to collecting workers' compensation benefits while he was working for a local real estate development company.
Franklin County Judge Stephen L. McIntosh ordered Thomas Piatt III, 404 Liberty St., Empire, to pay $25,332.92 in restitution after pleading guilty to the felony count of workers' compensation fraud. A one-year jail sentence was suspended, but Piatt will be on probation for three years and must maintain viable employment.
Prosecutors say Piatt worked in construction and remodeling while collecting temporary disability benefits from 2006-2008. Investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Special Investigations Division unit were alerted to the case by a bureau auditor who discovered Piatt on the payroll of the local development company.
"Workplace injuries are unfortunate events and workers who suffer injury deserve care and assistance as they recover," BWC Administrator/CEP Steve Buehrer said. "However, the goal should be to heal and return to work, and that is why restrictions are in place to prevent abuse and ensure employers are not continuing to pay for that assistance when it is clearly no longer needed."
Health board to meet Monday
WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Health will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the education and training room on the first floor of the Brooke County Courthouse.
An increase in the agency's state retirement contribution and the department's environmental fees will be among issues discussed.
Bethany College to hold lightup
BETHANY - Bethany College will hold its second-annual Holiday Light Up Night at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at the college's Commencement Hall.
The Christmas tree there will be lighted by College President Scott Miller. Students will discuss aspects of Christmas and other holidays of the season, including the Islamic Eid al-Adha, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and the Beech Bottom Community Christian Church Choir will perform.
There will be an auction for holiday-themed trees to benefit local charities and drawings for children's trees for children 12 and under. There also will be an area for children to write letters to Santa Claus and have their photos taken with him.