For Immediate Release - January 04, 2017

Fatal Holyoke Fire Electrical

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, and Holyoke Fire Chief John Pond announced the joint investigation into the January 1, 2017 fire at 106 North East Street in Holyoke has determined the cause was electrical.

The fire took the lives of three people who were on the fourth and fifth floors: Jorge Munoz, Trevor R. Wadleigh and Maria Cartagena.

Investigators traced the origin of the fire back to a wall outlet in the living room of a third floor apartment.

The fire alarm in the building appears not to have been operating properly. Chief Pond said, “In this fire there was a substantial delay from the discovery of the fire to the first 9-1-1 call which allowed the fire to progress significantly. Don’t assume that that fire department has been notified. Always call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.” He added, “In a fire seconds count and time is your enemy; remember to act fast and escape a quickly.”

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “This fire is a terrible way to start off the new year. From 2011-2015, 41 people died in electrical fires so it’s important to know the warning signs of trouble. Call the fire department immediately if you have arcs, sparks or short circuits; a sizzling or buzzing sound; odors, or a vague smell of something burning.” Firefighters can use thermal imaging technology to see excessive heat inside the walls. He added, “Call a professional electrician soon or notify your landlord if you have frequently blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers; dim or flickering lights, bulbs that wear out too fast; overheated plugs, cords or switches; shock or mild tingle – more than normal static electricity; loose plugs; or unusually warm or faulty outlets.”

The fire was jointly investigated by the Holyoke Fire and Police Departments, State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Hampden District Attorney’s Office. Assistance was received from the Department of Fire Services’ Code Compliance Unit, other State Police Units and the Holyoke electrical inspector.