Fire that killed Blackstone man caused by failed power strip, chief says

SE Mass

Courtesy: Matt Gregoire

BLACKSTONE, Mass. (WPRI) — A failed power strip was determined to be the cause of a fire that killed a 30-year-old Blackstone man last weekend, according to Blackstone Fire Chief Michael Sweeney.

Sweeney said firefighters responded to a home on Auclair Street Saturday afternoon and found it fully engulfed in flames.

Teagan Lafayette, who lived in an apartment on the second floor, died in the fire, according to the Worcester County District Attorney’s office.

The home, according to Sweeney, was a converted one-family home, and Lafayette was living above his parents.

Sweeney said the fire started in a living room on the second floor due to a “power strip that had clearly failed.”

He said investigators found two space heaters, a television, an Xbox and several other electrical appliances near the power strip, though it’s unclear whether all of them were plugged in and running at the time of the fire.

“On behalf of the town, I offer our heartfelt condolences to the Lafayette family,” Sweeney said. “This is a terrible tragedy for them.”

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said the incident should serve as a reminder to everyone not to plug space heaters into power strips or extension cords.

“While we can’t say for certain that one or both space heaters were plugged into the power strip, it appears likely they overloaded it,” he said. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to plug any heat generating appliance directly into the wall. Power strips are not designed to support the energy needed by a space heater.”

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