Investigation into Fatal Carmel Fire Points to Discarded Cigarette - Daily Hudson Valley News

Investigation into Fatal Carmel Fire Points to Discarded Cigarette

Jun 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Lead Article

A May 1 fire that ripped through a Carmel home killing four members of the Sullivan family is believed to have been started by a discarded cigarette.

Larchmont police Captain, 48 year old Thomas Sullivan, his 47 year old wife Donna Sullivan and two daughters, Meaghan and Mairead,  perished in the fire. The couple’s 20 year old son was the only survivor.

The fire burned quick and hot and according to officials at the time of the 1:15 AM blaze, heat from the fire melted the siding on two neighboring homes and prevented firefighters from entering the residence immediately. The fire was not fully under control until 5:00 AM.

Officials released the results of their investigation into the Wyndham Lane home fire late Thursday afternoon. Investigators have concluded that the cause was accidental after a cigarette was tossed into mulch adjacent to the front porch. Police believe the ash smoldered for some time before it reached plastic lattice and the wooden front porch. Thomas Sullivsan Jr. was helpful in determining what started the fire. Thomas Jr. was smoking outside just before going to bed.

The elder Sullivan’s actions are believed to have saved his son’s life; waking him up and telling him to get out of the house. Thomas Sr. remained in the house to try and evacuate the rest of his family. Autopsy reports showed smoke inhalation as the cause of death for all of the deceased.


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