Columbus Day Weekend Bourne Fire Undetermined
All Signs Point to Electrical Cause
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Bourne Fire Chief Norman W. Sylvester Jr. said the cause of the October 10, 2016 fire at 860 Sandwich Road is officially undetermined after investigation, but all evidence points to an electrical fire. The fire started in an attic area of the 2-story, 10-unit apartment building at about 12:15 a.m.
The power had gone out in Apartment 7 at about 9:45 p.m. that evening and after two attempts at resetting the circuit breakers, the residents were able to restore the power. Shortly before midnight, the occupants awoke and smelled smoke but thought neighbors were using their fireplaces. At 12:14 a.m. they noticed fire on the ceiling of their bedroom. They were able to safely exit the building and encountered the fire department already arriving. The fire department had been notified by an automatic alarm and found the fire had spread throughout the entire attic area. The fire spread was aided by winds of 15-31 m.p.h.
The attic area had no fire detection or suppression (and none was required) and the fire burned undetected till it broke through to the floor below. The only heat source in the attic was electrical wiring, but the extent of the damage left insufficient wiring to examine and definitely prove this was an electrical fire. There is no evidence this was an intentionally set fire and the building’s tenants had no access to the attic spaces. The fire will be officially classified as undetermined.
The fire was jointly investigated by the Bourne Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Assistance was received from electrical experts.