Fire Marshal: Fire, explosion that killed family of four in Northfield ruled arson

NORTHFIELD, Ohio - The explosion that killed a family of four in Northfield earlier this week has been ruled an arson, according to the Division of State Fire Marshal's office.

Authorities say that while the cause of the fire has been determined, the investigation remains open so further details cannot be released at this time. 

The home at 7486 Skyhaven Road in Northfield exploded around 9 p.m. Monday. 

Cindy and Jeff Mather and both of their daughters, Ruthie and Alyson, died in the explosion.

Cindy was a volunteer at Northfield Elementary School where Ruthie was a second grader. Jeff was a deacon at Rock Community Church in Garfield Heights.

The bodies of the girls were found near their mother. Jeff's body was found in a different part of the home. 

The Summit County Sheriff's Office said the arson incident was an isolated one. Law enforcement is reviewing evidence found at the scene of the fire. The department has not issued any search warrants yet.

And deputies had not been called out to the home for any kind of service in the past year.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office said they are performing autopsies on the bodies Wednesday but a cause of death report would not be made available on the same day.

"If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here, that's for sure," said Keri Vara, a Bedford resident who said Cindy Mather tutored her and helped her receive her GED. "She's like a mother of my heart."

Vara left a note and a picture at a small but growing makeshift memorial at the Mather home Wednesday.

Dominion East Ohio told newsnet5.com that a natural gas leak did not contribute to the explosion. 

The company issued this statement Wednesday:

Dominion East Ohio Gas yesterday conducted thorough testing of its facilities, including the main line and the service line, which connects our main line to the house. The test determined that our lines remained intact and that  there were no natural gas leaks. This indicates that Dominion East Ohio facilities – and natural gas- did not contribute to the event at 7486 Skyhaven Drive in Northfield Center. The authorities will make the final ruling on cause.

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