Cause of Bourne apartment building fire in October undetermined; evidence points to electrical

BOURNE –The cause of the October 10, 2016 fire at 860 Sandwich Road is officially undetermined after investigation, but the State Fire Marshal said all evidence points to an electrical fire.

The blaze started in an attic area of the 2-story, 10-unit apartment building at about 12:15 a.m.

State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Bourne Fire Chief Norman Sylvester Jr. said the power had gone out in Apartment 7 at about 9:45 p.m. that evening and after two attempts at resetting the circuit breakers, the residents were able to restore the power.

Shortly before midnight, the occupants awoke and smelled smoke but thought neighbors were using their fireplaces. At 12:14 a.m. they noticed fire on the ceiling of their bedroom. They were able to safely exit the building and encountered the fire department already arriving.

The fire department had been notified by an automatic alarm and found the flames had spread throughout the entire attic area. The fire spread was aided by winds of 15-31 m.p.h.

The attic area had no fire detection or suppression and none was required. The fire burned undetected until it broke through to the floor below.

The only heat source in the attic was electrical wiring, but the extent of the damage left insufficient wiring to examine and definitely prove this was an electrical fire. There is no evidence this was an intentionally set fire and the building’s tenants had no access to the attic spaces. The fire will be officially classified as undetermined.

The burned out section of the apartment complex was torn down earlier this month.

The fire was jointly investigated by the Bourne Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Assistance was received from electrical experts.