Salem fire chief: Blaze not suspicious

SALEM–Investigators may be leaning toward electrical as the cause of a fire that destroyed a Newgarden Avenue home on Monday, Fire Chief Scott Mason said.

“We’ve ruled out anything suspicious. We can’t rule out electrical,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office surveyed the scene at 1108 Newgarden Ave. on Tuesday morning. Mason said the fire remains undetermined and still under investigation.

The area of origin for the fire was definitely the living room, which was the room at the front of the two-story house toward the northeast side, but he couldn’t go into more detail on what may have been the source of ignition.

“We found a possible source that we can’t rule out,” Mason said, preferring not to say more than that at this time.

The fire department received a call at 3:31 p.m. Monday for a structure fire at the property owned by Amy Custer, who lived there with her husband, her son and his girlfriend, and their child, Amy’s granddaughter. No one was home at the time of the fire and the family dog, a chihuahua, managed to get out unscathed.

Mason was first on the scene in his department SUV after turning around while on his way home. The Salem fire crew and fire trucks from the station were delayed by a train. Perry Township and Damascus fire departments also responded and assisted at the scene. All shifts were called to respond for Salem. Mason said the fire moved quickly.

The home was insured and he said the insurance company will conduct it’s own investigation.

He previously said no one was injured, but corrected that on Tuesday by saying one Salem firefighter suffered a possible broken wrist.


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