Burglar alarm led to discovery of fatal fire

Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 19:52:43-05

HAMILTON, Ohio -- A police officer investigating a burglar alarm found the fire that ultimately took the life of Patrick Wolterman early Monday morning, prompting further questions into what may have started the fire.

Wolterman, a firefighter with the Hamilton Fire Department, entered the Pater Avenue home after a dispatcher reported there may have been an older couple inside. But Lester and Bertha Parker had left several hours before to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas. And Lester Parker told WCPO he always took precautions when leaving town.

"I left nothing plugged in, nothing turned on. We always make sure of that. My daughter and my son-in-law both help make sure of that," he said.

According to the Journal-News, an officer arriving to investigate the burglar alarm found heavy smoke coming from the two-story house.

“Heavy smoke coming out of it … too heavy to get close,” the officer says in scanner chatter.

The officer told a dispatcher there may be an “old man and woman” who live in the home, the Journal-News reported.

Later, at about 2:36 a.m., a police officer asked a dispatcher where the burglar alarm had detected motion. She answered that it was in a "dining room, front door and rear door times two."

By that time, Wolterman had been taken to Fort Hamilton Hospital after he'd fallen through the floor to the basement.

RELATED: 'He wasn't your typical rookie'

Wolterman, 28, was recently married and joined the Hamilton Fire Department on April 25, 2015 after serving with the Fairfield and Colerain Township departments.

Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith said donations in support of Wolterman's family can be made at First Financial Bank. 

Information on Memorial Service

A public memorial service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Princeton Pike Church of God, 6106 Princeton Glendale Road. Afterward, there will be a procession to Spring Grove Cemetery followed by a private graveside service.

Wolterman's funeral mass is scheduled for Wednesday evening but is not open to the public.