Officials Release Cause of Fatal Fire in Fall River, Massachusetts

61-year-old Emile Saucier died in the May 8 fire


Authorities say a fatal fire in Massachusetts earlier this month was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials.

Sixty-one-year-old Emile Saucier of 212 Covel St. in Fall River died in the May 8 fire that started in his third floor apartment.

Investigators say the fire started in a reclining chair in Saucier's kitchen. The victim was a known heavy smoker who rolled his own cigarettes, and investigators found lots of evidence of smoking materials where the fire began.

The fire is believed to have smoldered for a long time before it was discovered, and tenants told investigators that the first smoke alarms went off around midnight, although they could not find any smoke in the hall or basement. Smoke alarms in the hallway sounded again around 5:30 a.m., and tenants told investigators they say the third floor apartment's doorway in flames.

The State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey says it's not clear if there was a working smoke alarm in Saucier's apartment.

All nine people who have died so far this year in fires that started by smoking materials lived in residences that did not have working smoke alarms.

Fall River Fire Chief John Lynch added that Saucier did not have a safe second way out of his apartment, since the second exit from the apartment was a hatch with a ladder.

Damage to the building was estimated at $150,000.

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