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Homeowner's remains discovered

Latest: 10:05 pm, 1/30/14, Thursday VERMILION COUNTY -- After almost a week of digging, a body has been found in the rubble of a house fire.
Latest: 10:05 pm, 1/30/14, Thursday
VERMILION COUNTY -- After almost a week of digging, a body has been found in the rubble of a house fire. Crews have been working the scene since Friday.

Thursday night, the Vermilion County Coroner said there are enough remains to conduct an autopsy. It takes place Friday. Officials believe the body is that of the homeowner, Jeffrey Ward.
Latest: 4:16 pm, 1/30/14, Thursday
HOMER -- Nearly a week after a home burned down in rural Vermilion County, investigators found the body of a man who lived inside. First responders have been digging through the rubble for days, searching for closure. Now, they believe they've found it.

The home was destroyed by fire Friday. Workers with the State Fire Marshal's office brought out heavy equipment Thursday afternoon. Investigators say, with it, they found the remains of Jeffrey Ward buried under four feet of rubble.

Since the fire happened so long ago, and they still hadn't heard from the owner, officials had reason to believe he was somewhere inside when it sparked. Ward lived in the home with his cat.

First responders thought they found his remains last week, but they turned out to be an animal's. This time, Homer's fire chief says they're sure.

Workers from two dozen different departments have come to help with the search this past week. The fire chief says it adds up to about 450 hours worth of time on scene, but because of how badly everything was burned, they may never know how the fire started.

The fire chief says he's been working in Homer about 27 years and this is the first fatality in all that time.
Latest: 3:34 pm, 1/30/14, Thursday
HOMER -- The Homer Fire Chief confirms investigators found the remains of Jeffery Ward in his burned out home Thursday afternoon.

Ward had been missing since the fire last Friday night. Crews have been working off and on since then to find out if Ward was inside the home at the time of the fire.

Crews thought they discovered human remains last Saturday, but an anthropologist determined they were from an animal. More bones were found Wednesday, and Thursday, authorities say Ward was found in the rubble.
Latest: 5:01 am, 1/30/14, Thursday
HOMER -- More bones have been recovered from the site of a house fire. The owner, Jeffrey Ward, has been missing since the fire.

It happened Friday night. Crews thought they discovered human remains the next day, but an anthropologist determined they were from an animal.

More bones were found in the debris Wednesday. They have been turned over to the Vermilion County Coroner to determine if they are human.
Update: 2:56 pm, 1/27/14, Monday
VERMILION COUNTY -- Authorities say remains found in a house fire are not human. An anthropologist determined Monday morning, the remains are probably those of a small animal. The fire is still under investigation.
Original: 8:23 pm, 1/25/14, Saturday
HOMER -- Authorities found remains at the scene of a fire after returning the next day. Crews were called to 7886 North and 200 East about 10:30 pm Friday.

The remains are unidentified, but officials say the home belongs to Jeffrey Ward. Investigators haven't been able to find him. It took about three hours to get the fire under control. The house is a total loss.

Ogden, Royal, Sidney and Longview are just a few of the departments which responded to the blaze. A semi-truck in the driveway caught fire as well.

The cause hasn't been determined. The remains are being sent to the lab to be identified.
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