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Officials release cause of Plymouth County fire that killed Vietnam veteran, injured wife, two firefighters



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PLYMOUTH — Investigators have determined the cause of a fatal fire in Plymouth said Plymouth Fire Chief Neil J. Foley, Plymouth Police Chief Dana Flynn, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, and Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.

One resident, 79-year-old William J. Price, perished in the fire on Post N Rail Avenue during the early morning hours of February 10. Price was remembered as a Vietnam vet who overcame many obstacles despite his disability.

“I again want to express our sorrow to Mr. Price’s family and loved ones,” said Chief Foley. “This was a tragedy for them and our community. I’d also like to remind all our residents that smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts and the nation. If you smoke or have guests who do, please use a heavy ashtray on a sturdy surface.”

The fire was jointly investigated by the Plymouth Fire Department, Plymouth Police Department, and State Police assigned to the offices of the State Fire Marshal and Plymouth District Attorney. Investigators identified the point of origin as a first-floor bedroom. Based on an examination of the scene, witness interviews, and other evidence, they determined that it started accidentally with smoking materials.

“Smoking contributes to about 500 structure fires and about a dozen fire deaths each year in Massachusetts,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “There’s no truly safe way to smoke, but it’s especially dangerous to smoke in bed or when you’re drowsy. If you must smoke, then please – be sure to put it out, all the way, every time.”

The Plymouth Fire Department responded to the area of 41 Post N Rail Ave. following a Life Alert notification at 5:24 a.m. on February 10th. On arrival, firefighters observed smoke and flames coming from the single-story, multi-family dwelling and they were notified that two people were unaccounted for. Firefighters immediately made entry and rescued one older adult, William’s wife Lisa who was transported from the scene in critical condition with significant burns and is now expected to survive. Three other adults escaped. Two Plymouth firefighters sustained minor injuries at the scene.

Witnesses and firefighters reported hearing smoke alarms sounding, which officials believe may have prevented an even greater loss of life.

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