Cause of deadly Marthaville Road fire undetermined

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The cause of the fire which claimed two lives in Dawn-Euphemia will never be known.
Cindy Lou Beyea, 54, and Malcom McKinnon, 61, of Marthaville Road near Bentpath died in the fire on Jan. 29.
By the time the Dawn-Euphemia Fire Department arrived at the scene, flames could be seen shooting from the house over the top of giant cedar trees which surrounded it.
After nine months of investigation, the official cause is listed as undetermined.
Steve Martin investigated the blaze for the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office. He says because the home is in a rural area, the fire wasn’t spotted for some time. By the time firefighters arrived, the evidence was destroyed.
Martin says normally investigators studies want to “know where it started and what was the fuel load. I couldn’t even get to that point,” he tells The Independent.
“It was a two storey home and I can’t determine which level it started on. We just can’t determine fire patterns when the fire is in such an advanced state.”
And he says there is no way to determine when the fire started either. Firefighters were called to the home in the early morning hours after neighbours spotted the flames over the treetops.
“By all accounts, it was well advanced before the fire department got there, that’s not to say they didn’t do all they could, but it was a rural property and it wasn’t discovered until later… they did the best they could.”
Martin says it is believed there was a smoke detector in the home. Fire prevention officers had been to the home just a year before the blaze and at the time the homeowner told the fire department there was a detector on site however it wasn’t found in the home.
“There was no reasonable prospect of recovering the smoke detector. It’s one of the first things that melts,” says Martin. The investigator concedes its difficult to list the cause as undetermined. “I don’t like loose ends. It’s extremely frustrating.”

One Response to “Cause of deadly Marthaville Road fire undetermined”

  1. Melissa Lester

    What is extremely frustrating is that my family had to read this article in the paper. It would have been great to have been advised of the final outcome of the cause of the fire (or lack of) was.