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Viewpoints from readers: Readers recall victims of Ohio fireworks fire

July 14, 2018

- -A memorial lists the names of those killed in a fireworks explosion and fire in Scottown, Ohio, on July 3, 1996.

Nine people from Ohio and West Virginia were killed and 11 others were injured in the Scottown, Ohio, fireworks fire on July 3, 1996.

The blaze started when Todd Hall, then 24, threw a lighted cigarette onto a shelf filled with fireworks, supposedly as a prank.

Eight people died during the blaze, with a ninth victim dying a few days later from injuries she received in the fire. Hall, a brain-injured Proctorville, Ohio, man, was charged in 1996 with four counts of aggravated arson and nine counts of involuntary manslaughter. The charges were dropped after he was found incompetent to stand trial and committed to a state mental hospital in September 1996.

As the anniversary of the tragedy came around again, Herald-Dispatch readers recalled the victims and the events of that day.

Christie Perry: “I was a senior in high school! My husband was young and lost a friend there!”

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Sandy DeMarco: “I remember it well. Martena was just over a year old and we had went to Royal Oaks Resort in Pomeroy, Ohio, for the holiday. I think posting about this tragedy may make people think and be more careful.”

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Janice Parsons Caldwell: “If people only knew.”

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Michelle Mott: “Was so sad and tragic. Remember that day vividly.”

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Darlene Perry McCoy: “I think of you all every year.”

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Janice Parsons Caldwell: “I remember this. So sad.”

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Lisa Gill: “I remember well... so sad.”

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JoAnn Adkins: “I remember this all too well. Me, my mom, my son Allen and Steffanie Adkins were in there right before this happened. We saw the boys in there walking around. We just got out in time. We passed the fire trucks and rescue units on our way out that road! It is such a scary thought of how close of a call it was for us! I still think about all those poor families that lost loved ones.”

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Eulah Campbell Perdue: “Kathlene Wilks RIP.”

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Bekah K. Smith: “I remember this. My neighbor was killed in this fire...Just a teenager!”

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Del Ferguson: “I was there not even an hour before this happened that day ... knew many who passed.”

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Ashley Rutherford: “We used to get all our fireworks here; they had the best selection!”

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Betsy West: “Always remember them all, especially ‘Misti Cron, 21, and her baby girl, Shelby Cron, 3.’ May they all R.I.P.”

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Theresa Hacker: “Still such a tragedy!”

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Leann Deal Lawhorn: “This was so sad!!”

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Chris Evans: “I almost went out there that day.”

Look for periodic questions in the print edition of The Herald-Dispatch as well as on the newspaper’s Facebook page. And readers are invited to offer comments on any of The Herald-Dispatch’s stories appearing online at www.herald-dispatch.com.

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