LYNN — The most likely cause of yesterday’s fire on Allerton Street was improper disposal of smoking materials, said Lynn Fire Chief Stephen L. Archer and the state Fire Marshal, Peter J. Ostroskey.
“This fire started on the exterior of the building and grew significantly before smoke alarms inside detected it,” Chief Archer said. “It’s a scenario we see all too often when cigarettes and other materials are unsafely thrown down outdoor stairways, porches and balconies. If you smoke, or have guests who do, please use a deep, sturdy ashtray with water or sand and put it out, every time.
The Lynn Fire Department responded to the scene just after 5.20pm last night to find heavy smoke and flames in the two-family home. The fire quickly rose to a second alarm and firefighters reported low water pressure, which hampered the response. The building suffered catastrophic damage before firefighters brought the blaze under control. Nine people were moved and two were treated for minor injuries.
“Improper disposal of smoking materials is a leading cause of fatal fires in Massachusetts and across the country,” said state fire marshal Ostroskey. “Fortunately, this fire only caused minor injuries, but nine people lost their homes. If it had happened a few hours later, the tragedy could have been devastating.
Chief Archer and State Fire Marshal Ostroskey reminded residents that most of Massachusetts remains in a critically dry state, which means outdoor fires will start, grow and spread more easily.
“It is important that all members of the community exercise caution and common sense with any open flame outdoors, including smoking materials,” said Chief Archer. “Dry grass, mulch and debris can ignite easily in these conditions.”
The fire was investigated jointly by the Lynn Fire Department and the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the Office of the Fire Marshal of the State. This investigation determined that the fire started at the left rear of the building and then spread upwards along the exterior of the structure and into the attic.