Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Fire report shows more detail of damage

by Brad Lindberg Staff Writer

June 27, 2013

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A post-incident analysis of last week’s house fire on Lakeshore contains more detail than on-scene accounts, but no change in the cause and origin.

As reported last week, the three-alarm fire shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, in the 900 block of Lakeshore in Grosse Pointe Shores was electrical in nature and ruled accidental.

The follow-up investigation was conducted by Shores Lt. William Nicholson and an insurance company representative, although Nicholson was on scene during the blaze.

The night of the fire, the homeowner, 69, told investigators he went upstairs to bed at 10 p.m. His wife, 69, fell asleep on the couch in the first-floor family room.

The husband said he was awakened by a battery-operated smoke alarm in the hallway.

“He ran downstairs and observed the middle of the south wall of the library (the front of house faces east) on fire where book shelves are located,” Nicholson wrote.

The man woke his wife. They exited through the garage door. He called 911 on his cellular telephone and waited for firefighters to arrive.

“(The homeowner said) he experienced no electrical problem and neither he nor his wife smokes,” Nicholson wrote. “He said he doesn’t have any idea how the fire could have started.”

Both residents were treated the night of the fire at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe for minor smoke inhalation, according to Nicholson.

On Monday, June 17, Nicholson and the insurance investigator searched the damaged house. They focused on the library, located to the left, or south, of the front entrance.

“With the exception of smoke damage, the fire was contained to this room,” Nicholson wrote. “Working from the least amount of damage, the room was excavated, which led us to the area of origin, a book shelf on the south wall.”

Investigators determined the fire began at an electrical receptacle in the middle of the south wall.

“According to the owner, there was an older (20-year) model radio-cassette player on the shelf plugged into this plug,” according to the report. “The cord, which separated from the plug, shows evidence of beading and arcing, indicating that an event took place at this point, which started the fire.”

Nicholson said it requires analysis by an electrical engineer to determine exactly what occurred.

“It is my opinion that the fire was accidental,” the report concludes.