January 13 2020

Investigation Reveals Cause of Fatal Maryvale Road Fire to be Smoking Materials

By: Rich Hosford

The cause of a house fire that resulted in the death of one man and the hospitalization of three other people has been determined to be improper disposal of smoking material. 


As reported on BNEWS, at about 1 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, the Burlington Fire and Police Departments responded to a residential house fire at 26 Maryvale Road with a report of people still inside. Upon arrival, first responders found heavy smoke coming from the windows of the home and flames coming from the front window.


A male neighbor and delivery man helped an elderly woman escape the home prior to the fire department's arrival. The woman was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with serious injuries. The male delivery driver who helped her escape was also transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, along with a Burlington police officer.


Another man, reported to be in his 50s, was found deceased in the home. 


Now Burlington Fire Chief Michael Patterson, Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent, Middlesex District Attorney Marion T. Ryan and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said the cause of the fire was the improper disposal of smoking materials. 


The fire started in the first floor living room where the victim was found. A melted plastic bucket containing Pall Mall cigarette remnants was found near the couch. There was additional evidence of smoking materials found in the living room.


“Yesterday's fire had a tragic outcome that could have been even worse were it not for the quick actions of bystanders,” Chief Patterson said. “While I want to reiterate that non-fire personnel should never seek to insert themselves into this kind of situation, I do want to thank them for the help they provided to the woman in escaping. I'd also like to express my gratitude to the members of our department and our mutual aid partners who provided their support on-scene, as well as offer my condolences to the family affected by this tragedy.”


“Our office investigated two fires in 24 hours started by the improper disposal of smoking materials,” State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said. “It is important for smokers to use deep sturdy ashtrays or metal cans with sand. Remember, put it out; all the way; every time.”


The Burlington Fire Department, Burlington Police Department and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney jointly investigated the fire.


The identity of the victim will be released by the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney once formal identification by the Medical Examiner and notification of the next of kin has been completed.


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