Few updates on explosion cause


Investigators are awaiting results from early January testing to determine the cause of an apparent explosion and resulting fire at Jimbo’s Auto Repair in Hillsboro on Nov. 28, 2023, according to information provided by the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office.

The next phase of testing by the fire marshal’s office will be in March, so the Hillsboro explosion remains an open and ongoing investigation. The fire marshal’s office said it does not have a timetable for release of the cause or completion of the case at this time.

Three people were killed and one was injured in the incident.

The deceased were identified as 33-year-old David Beaver, 47-year-old Tim Furbee and 19-year-old Cameron Boatman, who were all employees at the auto shop.

A fourth person who was injured in the explosion was the mother of James “Jimbo” Chambers, the business owner. He had left the shop just prior to the explosion and returned afterward. His mother, who worked in the office at the shop, was hospitalized locally.

Various sources have said that a large number of vehicles that were on the lot when the explosion took place have been released.

There have been no permits submitted to the city to tear down a building immediately to the east of Jimbo’s that was damaged in the fire, according to Whitney Aliff, an administrative assistant with the city.

Shane Wilkin, the owner of Larry’s Party Shop that is next to the second building that was damaged and has been closed since the day of the incident, did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the carryout.

Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Chief Dave Manning said his department received a call reporting the incident at 4:02 p.m. Nov. 28. He said that upon arrival at the scene there was debris everywhere and the auto repair shop at 502 S. High St. was heavily involved in fire and smoke, which had extended to a vacant building immediately to the east.

“From what I felt at the firehouse and from what I’ve seen, I think that says a whole lot,” Manning said about an explosion being the cause of the fire.

Several people at nearby businesses said an explosion heavily shook their buildings.

Manning said all three of the deceased and the injured person, who was transported to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro in stable condition, were inside the building. He said it would be up to the fire marshal’s office to determine what caused the explosion.

Larry’s Party Shop has been closed due to smoke and water damage from firefighters battling the fire in the attic of the neighboring building.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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