Fire officials said Wednesday that an electrical malfunction was responsible for a weekend fire in Street which claimed the life of a dog who warned his owner of the blaze.
Andrew Schmidt, 79, was alone in his Boyd Road home Sunday night when his dog Shamus alerted him to a fire which had broken out. Schmidt was able to escape the blaze, but Shamus perished.
Approximately 75 firefighters from eight local departments battled the blaze for about an hour before bringing it under control. The State Fire Marshal’s office estimated damage to the home and its contents at $200,000.
From Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire:
After an exhausting fire and origin cause investigation, it has been determined the fire originated in a dining room addition that was located on the front of the home due to an electrical malfunction.
This malfunction ignited nearby combustibles which spread rapidly throughout the home. The preliminary investigation indicated the fire originated in the kitchen however after a detailed forensic examination the fire was determined to have originated in the above area.
The home was constructed in approximately 1920 and was still wired with the old 2-prong outlets. I recovered and examined over 10 extension cords located throughout the home. The electrical wiring in the home had little to be desired. If it wasn’t for Shamus, this could have easily ended in tragedy.
This case has been ruled accidental and closed. The Office of the State Fire Marshal encourages every home to be equipped with a working smoke alarm on each level, I would actually encourage that every room be equipped for a faster notification of the presence of smoke.