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.
A quick-moving fire on Watts and Highland Streets last Friday, May 3, claimed the life of one 37-year-old man and caused extensive damage. Investigators said there were major problems with smoke detectors in the home and first-responders reported not hearing any alarms upon arrival.
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.”
information on electrical fire safety go to:
Gold Star Mother Diana Ramirez is surrounded at City Hall by Girl Scouts from the various Chelsea troops. Ramirez lost her son, Nelson Rodriguez, while he was fighting in Afghanistan in June 2008, and was the Grand Marshal of this year’s Girl Scout Parade.
A 20-year-old Chelsea man has been charged with setting a fire last year that injured two firefighters and left 18 without a home – all over an alleged conflict with a resident of the building.
The indictment announcement came on Friday from Chelsea Fire Chief Robert Better Jr., State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Chelsea Police Chief Bryan Kyes, and Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley.
Nestor Perez, 20, of Chelsea, was arraigned Friday in Suffolk Superior Court on a charge of arson of a dwelling and two counts each of wanton destruction of property over $250 and causing injury to a firefighter. Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Brandt requested that bail be set in the amount of $5,000. Clerk Magistrate Connie Wong imposed $1,000 bail and ordered Perez to have no contact with any witnesses in the case.
According to prosecutors, Perez and two others were present at a three-family residence at 196 Washington Ave. on the evening of Oct. 22, 2013. Perez climbed the stairs to the second-floor porch, banged on the door, and demanded to see a resident with whom he had a conflict. He soon ran down the stairs and instructed the other individuals to leave the area. The group proceeded to a nearby convenience store.
A fire erupted on the second-floor porch within minutes of Perez being there, prosecutors said.
Two Chelsea firefighters were injured battling the three-alarm fire, which damaged the building beyond repair and caused thousands of dollars in heat and water damage to neighboring buildings, and displaced 18 people.
An investigation into the cause and origin of the fire revealed that after the fire was started on the second-floor porch, it spread into the second-floor apartment’s kitchen and then to the third-floor attic bedrooms and roof. Several combustible items had been stored on the porch, the investigation found.
The cause and origin investigation was led by the Chelsea Fire Department and State Troopers assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. Chelsea Police detectives obtained footage from City of Chelsea public safety cameras and other surveillance cameras showing Perez in the area of the fire immediately after the fire started.
Suffolk prosecutors led the grand jury investigation.
Perez is represented by attorney Eduardo Masferrer, and he will return to court May 29.
A Dorchester man has been charged with attempted murder for setting two major fires – one in Chelsea – after getting in a fight with his girlfriend and trying to fight that fire with a fire.
Late last week, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Everett Fire Chief David Butler, Chelsea Fire Chief Robert Better Jr, Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie, and Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes announced the arrest of Alfred J. Jordan, 31 of Dorchester, for two recent arson fires.
Jordan will be charged in Suffolk County with setting a fire in the early morning hours of Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 227 Washington Avenue, Chelsea, after having a fight with his girlfriend there.
He is believed to have set a second fire a short time later at 187 Elm Street, Everett, where his girlfriend was. He is charged in Middlesex County with one count of burning a dwelling and four counts of attempted murder for the Everett fire.
The Chelsea fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damages to the five-unit residential building that also injured one firefighter. Fortunately the smoke alarms worked and none of the 15 occupants were injured.
The Everett fire totally destroyed the 3-family building causing $350,000 in damages and spread to three additional residences and one commercial building. Working smoke alarms helped prevent injuries to any of the four occupants of the building where the fire started.
The Everett Police Department rescued the first floor tenant, who has only one leg. One firefighter was injured.
Multiple agencies were involved in these fire investigations led by State Police investigators assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal including trained fire investigators from the Chelsea and Everett Fire Departments, and detectives from the Chelsea and Everett Police Departments. The cases will be prosecuted by the Middlesex (Everett) and Suffolk (Chelsea) District Attorneys.