EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 30, 2013

Cause of fatal apartment fire remains under investigation

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — It is still unclear what caused a fire which killed a woman inside an apartment at The Village at Brickett Hill complex off North Avenue Monday.

The Essex County District Attorney’s office did not release the name of the victim yesterday. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said she has to wait for an official identification of the body from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Kimball-Monahan would not say when that might be.

Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We generally wait for the autopsy to be complete before concluding our cause investigation,” Mieth said. “We will probably be able to conclude this one fairly quickly, but each investigation takes its own time.”

The fire broke out about 11:30 a.m. According to Coan’s office, Monday’s fire in Haverhill was the eighth Massachusetts fire death so far in 2013, in seven fires.

State fire officials are urging the public to use extreme caution, and as a first line of defense to have working smoke alarms in your home.

“Have a practiced home escape plan to take advantage of precious minutes to escape safely, and practice good fire prevention around heating, electrical, cooking and smoking,” Mieth said. “These are the common causes of fires, and particularly fatal fires we’re seeing lately. We’re not seeing one cause more than the other, we’re seeing all of these things.”