Cause of Massive Townsend Blaze Ruled Accidental
By Jon Winkler
TOWNSEND -- State and local officials have concluded that the massive fire at Pine Ridge Estates in February was an accident.
In a press release issued on Thursday by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, state Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Townsend Fire Chief Mark Boynton said the blaze in the three-story, 24-unit apartment building on Fitchburg Road was “undetermined but considered accidental.”
Investigators couldn’t determine if the fire was electrical due to the extent of the damage. Also, no evidence of an intentional start to the fire was found.
On the night of the fire around 8 p.m. on Feb. 4, a resident of the building called fire officials after seeing smoke coming from the light fixture in her bathroom. Investigators concluded that the fire started within the wall between the resident’s apartment and a vacant apartment next door.
Residents had also reported smelling a vague odor of something burning in the building for several days. Boynton said this as an early sign of an electrical fire.
Boynton said on Thursday that the 48 residents of the building who were displaced from the fire were later relocated the week of the fire and that the building is set to be torn down.
He added that preliminary designs for a new building have been offered by the property owner.