For Immediate Release - December 20, 2007

Recovery Efforts To Continue In Gloucester Fire Tragedy

Cause of Fire Believed to Be Accidental

Fire and law enforcement officials said today that, after a brief hiatus, investigators will continue to search for the remains of Robert Taylor, who is believed to have perished in last weekend's Gloucester fire.

Despite the exhaustive efforts of investigators from the Gloucester Fire and Police Departments, Massachusetts State Fire Marshal's Office and State Police assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, the remains of Mr. Taylor have not yet been found. Recovery efforts have included the use of cadaver dogs, heavy equipment, and hand tools as searchers combed painstakingly through the rubble.

"In my ten-plus years as Fire Marshal, we have never left the scene of a tragedy without the remains of the victims," said Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. He noted that searchers would benefit from a break in the freezing weather, and said also that more resources would be sought.

The decision to continue the search for Mr. Taylor's remains was reached after investigators met with representatives from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office and Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Wednesday afternoon at Gloucester Fire Department headquarters. A fence will be erected around the site to secure the scene while investigators determine their next steps.

As for the fire itself, Fire Marshal Coan said that it appears to have been accidental, but would not be more specific because the investigation has not been closed.