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August 5, 2013

Fire marshal: Embers cause 2-alarm fire

IPSWICH — Embers left over from a fire in the laundry room at Agawam Village Friday night are the cause of a two-alarm fire in the same building just hours later, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

“It is as a result of the embers that were not able to be detected, as a result of the first fire,” state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said.

Coan said the early morning fire caused considerable damage, and the building is likely a total loss. No one was injured, he said.

The first fire, reported in the early evening Friday, was confined to the laundry room. After that fire was extinguished, Coan said firefighters on scene used a thermal imaging camera, as well as visual confirmation, to make sure the fire had not spread to other areas of the building.

“They did due diligence in checking the area for extension,” Coan said.

Early Saturday morning, firefighters were called back to the building and saw extensive fire in the roof and attic, he said. An investigation determined that embers from the laundry room fire had gotten into the ventilation system, where they were unable to be detected using thermal imaging, Coan said. Those embers spread to insulation in the attic, sparking the early morning blaze.

The exact time the second fire was reported, as well as the amount of time firefighters spent on scene fighting the blaze, was not immediately available.

The building houses the property manager’s office and the laundry room, and is not connected to the residential buildings at the County Manor complex, Coan said, and no residents were affected. Agawam Village is run by the Ipswich Housing Authority.

The cause of the original laundry room fire remains under investigation, he said, but it appears to be suspicious in nature. That fire caused about $10,000 worth of damage.

Ipswich fire and police departments are asking anyone with any information about the fire to call 978-356-4343.

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