Electrical issue caused deadly fire in Penfield

Updated: 03/20/2014 5:54 PM
Created: 03/20/2014 4:48 PM WHEC.com

News10NBC has obtained new information involving a deadly fire in Penfield back in January. Investigators say they now know more about what happened just moments before the fire that killed nine-year-old Tyler Doohan and three other family members.

Tyler Doohan will forever be remembered as a hero. The East Rochester fourth grader died trying to rescue his grandfather from a fire at his home in Penfield. Penfield’s fire chief says an electrical issue caused that fire.

It was January 20 when nine-year-old Tyler Doohan was spending the night at his grandfather’s mobile home in Penfield. 

Fire officials say Tyler was the first to notice the fire while his family was sleeping. He helped five of them make it out alive. Even Tyler made it out, but went back inside to save his grandfather, Lewis Beach. That’s when fire officials say the young boy died. Steven Smith and Barbara Beach also died.

Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer says there were a couple of electrical issues that could have caused the fire, including an overloaded circuit, where several cordless phones were plugged in.

Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer said, “One of the surviving individuals they noted that there was flames near that couple of telephones. Actually the lines that were going to those corded bases were on fire as well and these were in the same location as the breaker that had tripped a few times that preceding night.”

The chief says there was also some work done on a metal threshold that separated two rooms.

Ebmeyer said, "They located some drywall type screws that had been used to fasten this metal threshold down that were in close proximity not only to coaxial cable that supplied the phone service to the trailer but also some electrical extension cord."

There was some speculation that perhaps a space heater was to blame for the fire, but the chief says that has been ruled out.

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