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Probe: Discarded cigarette to blame - The Sun Chronicle : Local News

Probe: Discarded cigarette to blame

Foxboro fire investigators release report on April 5 Lakeview Pavilion blaze

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Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:31 am

FOXBORO - A discarded cigarette caused the fire that destroyed the historic Lakeview Pavilion during an April 5 wedding, a fire department investigation has concluded.

The finding by lead investigator fire Capt. Edward Noonan is consistent with initial reports that a tossed cigarette started the blaze. No injuries were reported.

"It is the opinion of this investigator, that this was an accidental fire," Noonan concluded in his five-page report. "This accidental fire is the result of improperly discarded smoking material."

Noonan was assisted in his investigation by police Sgt. Richard Noonan, his brother, who gathered witness statements.

The approximate 100-year age of the building "was a determining factor in fire spread and growth," Capt. Noonan wrote.

The structure was about 200 feet by 100 feet, and had a fire alarm system tied into a radio box. Activation of the box and phone calls reported the fire shortly before 7 p.m.

The three-alarm blaze erupted during the wedding of Brandise Levesque, 31, of Fall River, and Keith Luciano, 33, of Swansea.

A manager at the venue at 45 Lakeview Road reported that staff smelled something burning and that after several minutes of searching for the source of the odor, "an employee found some mulch smoldering and an apparent fire at the base of the structure ... just outside the photo room door.

"Closer examination of this area of origin indicates that the fire burned from the exterior of the building inwards. Burn pattern analysis of the vinyl siding, thin insulating material, cedar shingles, cardboard backing, and eventual three-quarter-inch sheathing, did not indicate that the fire originated anywhere else except at the exterior of this structure.

"Further examination of the lowest burn pattern, determined that this fire originated at ground level..."

The investigation ruled out the structure's wiring and ventilation system as the cause.

Concerned that what remained of the building could collapse, building commissioner Bill Casbarra ordered the charred structure to be torn down.

The report gives a technical explanation of burn patterns on various wooden building materials.

"The only competent heat source that could most probably be identified is a cigarette that was carelessly disposed of. This determination is made as a result of both the investigation into the origin of the fire, but the witness statements that state a cigarette was seen on the ground, at the exact area of origin, still lit and sustaining combustion," Capt. Noonan wrote.

Owner sisters Natalia Kapourelakos and Anastasia Tsoumbanos have said they will build a new Lakeview Pavilion on the site if they can.

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