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March 22, 2013

Probe finds fatal fire's cause to be accidental

The state fire marshal’s office and Gloucester’s fire chief have confirmed that the cause of the blaze that claimed the life of a Windsor Lane resident in late January was accidental.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Gloucester Fire Chief Eric L. Smith said in a prepared statement that 55-year old Kim Anderson, who died in the Jan. 26 fire at 4 Windsor Lane, succumbed to smoke inhalation and burns, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The fire originated in the living room of the one-story, one-family home, fire officials said.

“The investigative team has narrowed down the possible causes to improper disposal of smoking materials, combustibles too close to the baseboard heaters or an electrical malfunction of the baseboard heater behind the couch, but have ruled out arson as a possible cause,” Coan said in a prepared statement.

Investigators could find no evidence of working smoke alarms in the home, and Smith said the fire and its accidental cause should serve as a reminder to residents in terms of fire safety.

“We just recently changed our clocks which is a great time for each of us to check all our detectors to make sure they are working,” Smith said. “Working smoke alarms are your first line of defense in a fire, giving you precious moments to use your home escape plan.”

The fire was jointly investigated by the Gloucester Fire Department, the Gloucester Police Department, State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of the Essex District Attorney’s Office. Assistance was received from the electrical inspector and from the Code Compliance and Enforcement Unit in the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

For more on this story, look to updates over the weekend here at gloucestertimes.com. For full story, look to Monday’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.

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