John Hebert was killed during the fire in Hampshire County, in Town of Ware, that broke out in his basement on Friday, March 19, officials said, noting that the fire at the single-family Palmer Road home was accidental.
Fire crews responded to the residence shortly before 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and were able to quickly knock down the flames. Hebert was found inside the home, treated by paramedics, and later pronounced dead, officials said.
According to investigators, the fire was not caused by electrical faults, but the area of the basement where the blaze broke out showed signs of someone smoking there, and there was a candle present.
“On behalf of the fire department and the Town of Ware, I offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends,” Ware interim Fire Chief Christopher Gagnon said in a statement.
Officials said that the smoke detectors inside the home were at least a decade old and were inoperative at the time the fire started spreading from the basement to other parts of the residence.
State Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey reminded area residents to make sure that smoke detectors and other appliances are up to date to prevent a similar situation.
“Like every other appliance in our home, smoke alarms don’t last forever,” he said. “The smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old must be replaced so you can rely on them when you need them most.”
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