Chelsea Fire Chief Leonard A. Albanese Jr., Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins announced the cause of the May 3 fire at 48 Watts St., a 2-family home in Chelsea, was electrical.
The fire took the life of an adult man believed to be a relative of the occupants of 48 Watts St. The victim was identified as Milton Lopez, 37.
In the dense neighborhood, the fire spread to rear of 107-109 Highland Street.
The fire originated in a void space above the suspended ceiling of an enclosed porch. Investigators determined that an electrical event took place in the area of origin where there were numerous electrical circuits. Just before the fire was discovered, residents reported that the lights in the first floor kitchen, the room next to the porch, went off. The victim was found on the enclosed porch.
Chelsea fire investigators, Chelsea detectives, and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins jointly investigated this fire. The Chelsea Inspectional Services Department, State Police Crime Scene Services and the Department of Fire Services’ Code Compliance Unit provided assistance.
The home had a mixture of working, missing and disconnected smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and heat detectors. All of the alarms found in the home, whether they were disconnected, lying on a shelf, or actually functional, had expired and were more than 10 years old. First-arriving firefighters report not hearing any alarms sounding.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “May is Electrical Safety Month and electrical fires are the second leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts behind smoking. It’s important to have a licensed electrician check out your system every ten years to prevent problems.”
For more information on electrical fire safety go to: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/electrical-fire-safety.