Residents recover after Belmont arson

BELMONT– Residents of two Belmont homes are still recovering after a devastating fire claimed almost all of their belongings.

On Aug. 10, a fire broke out at 204 Abby St. in Belmont. Although that blaze was contained by the fire department before it could cause extensive damage, fire struck the building again on Aug. 25. Several factors involved in the second incidents made it clear to law enforcement that they were dealing with an arsonist.

In addition to completely destroying the home of Jeremiah Kemp, damage from the second fire also affected the house next door, leaving Janet Orr and Richard Pyegan homeless and in need of assistance.

According to Mayor Stan Sobel, community members helped out those left in need as a result of the fire.

“There have been a tremendous number of people who have donated money to both Jeremiah Kemp as well as Richard and Janet to help jumpstart them into recovery,” Sobel said.

He thanked and praised everyone who has taken the time to donate something to help out those affected by the arson fire.

Pyegan and Orr, who lost many of their belongings in the blaze, have received clothes, appliances and other household items to help speed up their recovery. The two are staying in a Belmont apartment while dealing with their renter’s insurance to figure out the next step.

Meanwhile, those who lost their structures to the fire are moving on. Sobel said Kemp has rented a Dumpster and plans to return to his burned out property today to clean out what he can. Bob Stiple, who owns the adjacent house and rents it to Pyegan, also is speaking to his insurance agency to get the rebuilding process started.

The fires at 204 Abby St. are being investigated as arson by the Ohio State Fire Marshals office. Sobel also revealed that in between the two structure fires, two cars on the property were also set ablaze, though the fires thankfully did not spread at that time. Anyone with information on the arson fire or who notices suspicious activity is asked to contact the Bethesda Police Department at 740-484-4009.