HAVERHILL — Fire officials have concluded the March 7 fire that killed 87-year-old Phyllis Lamot started on a mattress and was likely ignited by "improper disposal of smoking materials or an aged heating pad."
A written statement released today by the fire marshal's office reads: "Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Haverhill Public Safety Commissioner Alan DeNaro said their joint investigation into the cause of the March 7, 2012 fatal fire at 477 Washington Street has determined the fire was accidental and started on the mattress.''
The fire took the life of Lamot and injured her daughter and son-in-law who lived in the apartment. The release said Lamot's cause of death has not yet been determined by the medical examiner pending conclusion of the autopsy test results. Family members have said they believe the woman died of smoke inhalation.
Lamot lived with two younger relatives, Raymond Matthes, 55, and Sherry Matthes, 53, who were both injured in the fire.
The fire sparked controversy when, just hours after the deadly early morning blaze, the Haverhill firefighters union held a press conference in front of the burned-out triple decker to say Lamot may have survived the fire if Mayor James Fiorentini had not cut two men from their rescue truck.
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A full report will appear in tomorrow's Eagle-Tribune.