- Department of Fire Services
Media Contact for Fatal Maynard Fire was Accidental
Jake Wark, Public Information Officer
MAYNARD — Maynard Fire Chief Anthony Stowers and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that last week’s explosion and fatal fire at a Park Street home was accidental in nature and caused by a leak in an underground gas line that ignited in a basement crawlspace.
“On behalf of the Maynard Fire Department, I want to express our deepest condolences to the family as they mourn the loss of a loved one,” said Chief Stowers. “This was an extremely fast-moving fire and it led to a terribly tragic event for them and for the town. It highlights the urgency of leaving the area of a potential gas leak and then reporting it quickly.”
“As this fire demonstrated, it’s important to treat a potential gas leak as you would a fire alarm,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Natural gas and propane are treated with a substance that has a distinctive odor that smells like rotten eggs. If you can smell it in your home, go outside to call 9-1-1 right away. Don’t smoke or use any electrical appliances, even a light switch or thermostat, because any spark could lead to an explosion.”
The Maynard Fire Department received a call at about 4:10 pm on Sept. 2 reporting a potential gas leak at 27 Park St. Firefighters arrived a short time later to find smoke and flames showing from the front and right side of the house, and observed the fire to grow very quickly. They made entry into the home and found one victim, a man in his 60s, deceased inside. Two Maynard police officers and one Maynard firefighter were transported from the scene with injuries that were not life threatening; they have since been released from the hospital. The fire took about two hours to fully extinguish.
The fire was jointly investigated by the Maynard Fire Department, the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office, State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, and the District 14 fire investigation team. Following witness interviews, an examination of the scene, and the excavation of nearby gas lines, investigators determined that a leak in a gas line outside the home, and not a stove or other appliance, spread and ignited in a basement crawl space near the front of the building.
Mutual aid was provided by the Concord, Acton, Stow, Hudson, Lincoln, Wayland, Boxborough and Sudbury fire departments during Thursday’s fire. Eversource crews returned to the area the next day to perform precautionary inspections, which are expected to continue this week.