Fire Marshal: Smoking materials most likely cause of Nantucket hotel fire

Town of Nantucket/CWN

NANTUCKETThe massive fire at the Veranda House hotel on Nantucket this weekend was most likely caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials, Nantucket Fire Chief Stephen A. Murphy, Nantucket Police Chief William Pittman, and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said today.

A joint investigation by the Nantucket Fire Department, Nantucket Police Department, and State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office also determined that the fire began beneath the front porch, where hotel trash was stored.

“This fire was first reported at about 6:45 Saturday morning, when many guests were likely still asleep,” said Chief Murphy. “It began beneath the front porch, where smoke alarms inside couldn’t immediately detect it. We’re extremely fortunate that everyone made it out safely, and I want to recognize the heroic efforts of community members whose immediate action under dangerous conditions helped to save lives.”

“Smoking materials are the leading cause of fatal fires,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “If you still smoke, or if you have guests who do, it’s extremely important to be sure all smoking materials are fully extinguished. Never stub out a butt on a porch or stairway or toss it in a planter, mulch, or debris, where it can smolder unseen before igniting a fire. Use a heavy ashtray with water or sand and keep it on a sturdy surface. And be sure to put it out, all the way, every time.”

The Saturday morning fire at the three-story, 18-room hotel spread to two nearby buildings, causing major damage, and all three involved structures have been declared a total loss. Four firefighters were transported from the scene for medical assistance and have since been released. Firefighters battled the fire for more than 12 hours before finally extinguished it at about 8:00 pm.

The fire departments of Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills, Dennis, Harwich, Hyannis, Sandwich, and Yarmouth provided mutual aid.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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