There were no working smoke alarms in a house southeast of St. Thomas where an accidental fire killed one person, Ontario’s Fire Marshal has determined.
Emergency crews responded about 1:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, to a house fire at 51560 Nova Scotia Line in Malahide Township where investigators later found the remains of one individual, Elgin OPP said. One person escaped the home that was engulfed in flames, and investigators worked to determine whether other occupants were in the house, police said.
Officials did not reveal the identity of the deceased but family identified the man to The London Free Press as Ken Jones, who lived on the rural property with his wife. She had escaped the blaze.
“Grandpa did not make it out,” his granddaughter, Kariesha Blackwood, 21, told The Free Press.
Investigators with the Office of the Fire Marshal, called to probe “the origin cause and circumstance” of the fire, found no working smoke alarms inside the home, a spokesperson said Friday.
The investigation also revealed the “accidental fire was started by a wood-burning stove located in the basement of the home,” Sean Driscoll noted by email.
The provincial fire marshal is reminding people to keep a working smoke alarm on every floor of their home and have their fuel-burning appliances inspected by a trained technician.
In addition to testing the alarms monthly and changing the batteries each year, fire alarms should be replaced “every 10 years to make sure you and your family can be alerted to the event of a fire,” Driscoll said.
Loved ones are remembering Jones as a beloved husband and grandfather who was kind, hardworking and strong-willed. An online fundraiser to support the Jones family had raised nearly $4,000 by Friday afternoon.
“As everyone may know my beloved grandma and brother have lost their home, and her beloved husband and grandfather,” Blackwood wrote on the fundraising page. “They were left with absolutely nothing, and any help would be greatly appreciated.”
The money raised will help support the family to buy basic necessities including clothing, food, hygiene items, new car keys, appliances and “anything they would need to live comfortably,” she said
Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press