SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 28, 2013

Cigarette may have led to fire

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — BEVERLY — The Fire Department says a house fire on Blaine Avenue yesterday afternoon was likely caused by the improper disposal of a cigarette outside the building.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters received a report of the blaze at 23 Blaine Ave. at 1:17 p.m. Capt. Kevin Smith said an occupant of the multifamily residence smelled smoke and went outside to find it coming from a section of vinyl siding on the first floor.

The man doused the area with water and thought the fire was out, but it had apparently renewed itself by the time Engine 5 showed up on the scene. Firefighters evacuated the building and worked to expose the area and discovered fire in the walls. A crew checking out the basement also found fire in the ceiling.

Firefighters were concerned that the blaze could extend up the building’s balloon-frame wooden construction and into the attic, but it didn’t. Smith said there was some smoke-staining in the walls on the second floor.

Crews knocked the blaze down in about 10 minutes.

Smith said he expected that the residents would be able to stay in the building despite extensive damage.

The fire is still under investigation, but Smith said it was “leaning toward the careless disposal of a cigarette.”

Firefighters found a can full of cigarette butts in the approximate area of the blaze, he said.

Crews from Danvers, Salem and Manchester-by-the-Sea provided station coverage during the incident.