Fatal blast destroys Poland home amid domestic, eviction legal issues
The Poland Township home destroyed by an explosion and fire was at the center of two legal cases being played out in Struthers Municipal Court.
Tuesday, September 19th 2023, 6:06 AM EDT
A New Middletown street department supervisor was scheduled to appear in court related to charges that he allegedly abused a disabled woman who lived in the house that exploded on Arrel Road in Poland Monday morning.
The hearing for John Melvin was continued Monday after the explosion killed a woman inside the house early Monday morning.
Investigators so far say they have not determined the cause of the explosion and are are working to determine whether the explosion resulted from an accident. The state fire marshal's office said they are still investigating the case, but said "nothing is suspected at this time."
Neighbors who heard an explosion early Monday summoned firefighters to the burning home at 4108 Arrel Road.
Authorities say the body of a woman was found inside the ruins of the home. The name of the victim, who investigators say was in her 50s, has not yet been released.
Police were called to the same home on March 6 by Belinda Wile, who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair, according to the criminal complaint.
Wile is listed as Melvin's ex-girlfriend.
Wile told police that Melvin had pushed her down and punched her. Officers reported seeing bruises on Wile's arm and shoulder.
Melvin was released on bond with the condition that he had no contact with the alleged victim. Melvin plead not guilty to the charge of domestic violence.
Monday's court hearing for Melvin has been reset for October 16.
According to court records, a mortgage company began eviction proceedings in June for non-payment of rent against the Wile and Melvin, who are listed as the tenants of the home.
Melvin’s attorney has denied the allegations spelled out in the complaint filed by Carosella Investments, LLC, the owners of the house .
After neither Melvin nor Wile appeared for a court hearing on the matter earlier this month, a magistrate noted that the two failed to vacate the property.
Another hearing had been scheduled for November.