Tonawanda News

April 11, 2013

Cause of Third Avenue blaze probed

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda Fire Chief John Lapham said the cause of a fire that took the lives of two Third Avenue residents could be released later this week. 

“Investigators are still working on it,” he said. “They have a couple of other things they’re checking on. The report is just being forumulated. It will probably be a couple more days before it comes out.” 

Lapham said the home, which was rented by Dorothy Burns, 84, who died from smoke inhalation along with her daughter Kathleen Watson, 62, after a fire was apparently sparked in the living room, is now in the hands of the property’s landlord, after city building inspectors surveyed the two-story house. 

“It’s actually been turned over to the property owner,” he said. “They’ve secured it. It’s stable.” 

Lapham said while he couldn’t comment on specifics of the investigation, which involves four members of the North Tonwanda fire and police departments and a private investigator, he did say that part it will focus on whether the home had working smoke detectors. On Tuesday, Lapham said four factors are currently be looked at as possible causes for the blaze. 

“That’s undetermined at this point,” he said. “But that is part of the investigation, too.”