Officials: Source of Hewitt Soap Co. factory fire may never be identified

Dayton fire officials said investigators have not determined the cause of last week’s large fire at the Hewitt Soap Co. factory and the source may never be identified.

The cause of the December 2016 fire at the soap factory was never clearly determined because the structure was reduced to a pile of debris, officials said.

Emergency demolition contractors have knocked down parts of the Hewitt Soap Co. factory buildings that were damaged in last week’s blaze and were currently hazards and at risk of collapse, Brian Inderrieden, Dayton's acting director of planning and community development, said at the Dayton City Commission meeting on Wednesday night.

The next step will be for the city to issue nuisance orders, giving the property owner a deadline to clean up the property, he said.

Burned debris is scattered all over the site.

If the nuisance is not abated, the city will step in, clean up the property and assess the cost to the property tax bill, Inderrieden said.

"We're going to take it through our normal process," he said.

The city paid Green City Demolition to demolish and clean up the part of the soap factory that caught fire in 2016.

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