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Second fire in two days caused by candle, State Trooper who made rescue identified



Photo courtesy of Massachusetts State Police

An early-morning fire in a home for veterans started with an unattended candle in a second-floor living room, Middleborough Fire Chief Lance M. Benjamino and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said.

The early morning fire on West Grove Street seriously injured one adult resident and also injured the State trooper who rescued him. It came two days after a candle fire in Kingston that claimed a woman’s life.

“As we saw here, the flame from one small candle can cause a fire that destroys a home,” said Chief Benjamino. “Given the early hour, we’re very lucky more people weren’t injured or worse. Always exercise caution with candles, and never leave a burning candle unattended.”

“We want to remind everyone to extinguish candles and incense before leaving the room or going to sleep,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Place a candle in a sturdy candleholder or a nonflammable saucer before lighting it. Keep them out of areas where they might be bumped or knocked over, and always keep anything that can burn at least a foot away.”

Middleborough firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 1:12 this morning and found heavy fire conditions showing from the upper two floors of the three-story building. A Massachusetts State trooper from the Middleborough Barracks who has been identified as Trooper John Hagerty, was passing by and used a ground ladder to rescue one seriously injured person from the third floor; the trooper was injured as well, and both were transported for medical treatment. Two occupants received minor injuries that were treated at the scene and did not require transport. All other occupants were able to escape safely.

The fire departments of Lakeville, Raynham, and Carver provided mutual aid at the scene, and the Wareham Fire Department provided station coverage. Middleborough Police also assisted at the scene. The Department of Fire Services deployed Rehab 7, a specialized apparatus that provided support to first responders.

The origin and cause of the fire were jointly investigated by the Middleborough Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. They were assisted by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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