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MA fire officials announce that fire that claimed life of 3-year-old girl not suspicious



Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

A two-alarm fire that claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl in Massachusetts on Wednesday does not appear suspicious, but the exact cause remains undetermined, said Lynn Fire Chief Stephen L. Archer, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

“Our thoughts remain with this child’s family, who lost a cherished loved one and the place they called home,” said Chief Archer. “I know the community shares their grief for this terrible loss.”

The origin and cause of the fire were jointly investigated by the Lynn Fire Department, Lynn Police Department, State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office, and State Police detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s office. Based on an examination of the scene, witness interviews, video footage, and other evidence, investigators identified the the fire’s point of origin as the left front corner of the building’s exterior. Investigators found no evidence of criminal conduct or an intentional act, but they were unable to rule out multiple accidental factors such as smoking materials or an electrical event. Investigators found no working smoke alarms in the home.

“The exact cause of this fire will remain undetermined, but we know that smoking materials are the leading cause of fatal fires in Massachusetts,” said Chief Archer. “If you smoke or have guests who do, always use a heavy ashtray with water or sand and remember to put it out, all the way, every time. Never discard cigarettes, matches, or other smoking materials on the ground where they can ignite mulch or dry leaves.”

“Whatever else you do today, please take time to be sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Check the manufacturing date printed on the back of the alarm. If there’s no date or if it’s more than 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm that has a hush feature and a sealed, long-life battery. We’ve found that these are less likely to be disabled. If your alarm takes alkaline batteries, put in fresh ones twice a year. This is a great time to put in fresh batteries to keep you protected through the spring.”

The Lynn Fire Department was first notified of the 7 Circuit Ave. fire at 4:05 yesterday morning and the first responding engine arrived at 4:07 a.m. Firefighters encountered heavy fire and smoke on arrival. They battled the fire for about 45 minutes before bringing it under control. The fire was contained to the building of origin, causing some heat damage to an adjacent home.

More than a dozen residents were displaced, including several adults and children who were transported to an area hospital as a precaution. The victim remained unaccounted for until later in the morning, when she was located inside the home and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Red Cross of Massachusetts, Salvation Army, and City of Lynn are assisting the displaced residents. The Salem Fire Department provided mutual aid at the scene; the fire departments of Chelsea, Marblehead, Melrose, Peabody, Revere, Salem, and Saugus provided station coverage. The Lynn Inspectional Services Department and Department of Fire Services’ Code Compliance & Enforcement Unit provided additional support.

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