For Immediate Release - May 07, 2013

May 7, 2013 - Salem Fatal Fire Accidental

No Smoke Alarms in Victim’s Apartment

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Salem Fire Chief David W. Cody said the cause of Sunday morning’s fatal fire at 5 Beacon Street, Salem is accidental. The investigative team pinpointed the area of origin in the second floor apartment between a desk and a closet. Whether the cause was a candle left burning or improper disposal of smoking materials cannot be further determined, but all other possible causes have been eliminated.

The fire took the life of one man, believed to be the occupant of the second floor apartment. The Office of the State Medical Examiner will formally identify the victim whose identity will be released by the Essex District Attorney’s Office.

Chief Cody said, “Every fire death is a terrible tragedy and the north shore has seen more than their fair share of fire deaths this year. The sad part is that many of these fire deaths could have been prevented with working smoke alarms.” There was no smoke alarm present in the second floor apartment where the fire started, and the smoke alarms in the basement and the first floor apartment were not operational. “I would urge all Salem residents to take a moment to make sure their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working, to put in a fresh 9-volt battery if needed, and to consider replacing any smoke alarms that are more than ten years old,” he added.

State Fire Marshal Coan said, “There were no working smoke alarms in nearly half of all fire deaths in one- and two-family homes. A working smoke alarm, coupled with a practiced home escape plan, can more than double the chances of surviving a fire.”

The fire was jointly investigated by trained members of the Salem Fire Department, detectives from the Salem Police Department, State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office.