For Immediate Release - March 22, 2013

Investigators Conclude Gloucester Fatal Fire Accidental

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Gloucester Fire Chief Eric L. Smith said the January 26, 2013 fire at 4 Windsor Lane, Gloucester, that took the life of 55-year old Kim Anderson, has been determined to be accidental. The victim died of 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.

State Fire Marshal Coan 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.”

Gloucester Fire Chief Smith said, “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. Working smoke alarms are your first line of defense in a fire, giving you precious moments to use your home escape plan.”

Coan said, “Many people incorrectly think that they will wake up to the smell of smoke, when in fact studies have shown you will not, and the toxic smoke from a fire will put you into a deeper sleep.” Investigators could find no evidence of working smoke alarms in the home.

This 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.