For Immediate Release - March 20, 2015

Deputy State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, Edgartown Fire Chief Peter G. Shemeth and Edgartown Police Chief Jack Collins announced that the cause of last evening’s fatal fire at 25 Boylston Street was the improper disposal of smoking materials. The fire took the life of one of the men who lived in the home. Another man who attempted to rescue him was injured and taken to a Boston hospital.

The fire originated on a 3-season porch where the residents smoked. The victim had been in the shower when he was alerted to the fire by the other residents. He did not immediately evacuate with the others and became trapped by the heat and smoke of the rapidly growing fire. There is no evidence that the home had working smoke alarms.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Working smoke alarms are your first line of defense in a fire when you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Fire doubles in size every 60 seconds, so it is important to get out fast.”

Chief Shemeth said, “This fire is a terrible tragedy and I offer our condolences to the family and friends of the man who lost his life in this fire. This fire underscores just how fast fire grows and the importance of working smoke alarms for early warning of danger and having a home escape plan with two ways out of every room when fire strikes.”

The fire was jointly investigated by Edgartown Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe.

Smoking Caused 6% of Fires and 11% of Deaths

During 2013, there were 1,845 fires in Massachusetts caused by the improper use or disposal of smoking materials that caused five civilian deaths, 52 civilian injuries, 39 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $17.9 million.