(Update, May 12): Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz announced Thursday that the Martin St. house fire, which killed four children and two adults May 6, was an accident that had been caused by “smoking materials” on the house’s front porch.
Linnertz did not specify what those materials were, but said the fire had quickly engulfed the home, so that by the time firefighters arrived at the scene, there wasn’t anything that could be done.
He also said there were no working smoke detectors in the home.
“There was just a tremendous amount of fire,” Linnertz stated.
Colleen Anderton, the mother of two of the children, was the only survivor. She escaped the home after being alerted by another resident.
“We suffered a terrible tragedy last week,” Mayor Stephanie Miner stated. “On behalf of the people of the city of Syracuse, I want to add my voice. They have suffered a tragedy that is unspeakable, and one that has touched the heart and soul of this community.”
Calling hours for the family will be public, but they have not yet been announced, authorities said. Funeral services and burials will be private.
(From May 11) – An explosion engulfed a Syracuse house in flames last Friday, May 6, killing four children and two adults.
Kevin and Colleen Anderton, the sole survivors of the house fire, lived in the home with their two children, Kevin Jr., 13, and Cassie, 7. They shared the house with Kevin Sr.’s brother, Gordon, 34, and his two sons, Lawrence, 12, and Jacob, 10. Kevin Sr.’s cousin, William Yager, 33, was also living in the home.
Kevin Sr. was at work at the time the fire started and rushed home as soon as he heard, but he was too late. Only his wife escaped; she is now recovering at a local hospital.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kevin Sr.’s mother, Phyllis Anderton. “It’s just a bad dream. It’s not real.”
Phyllis and her husband, Lawrence, visited the scene just hours after the fire where they found the family dog, Mugsy, cowering in the garage.
Lawrence Anderton was able to reach the ex-wife of his son Gordon to deliver the news that her ex-husband and two boys were gone. Jennifer Anderton said that her ex was a good father and that the home was always clean and tidy when she visited.
“He loved the boys,” she said. “Maybe we didn’t get along for the most part, but I know he loved the boys.”
Investigators still have not determined the cause of the fire, though they know that it started on the first-floor enclosed front porch of the Martin Street home in North Syracuse.
Firefighters say that if early detection is able to provide a warning 10 to 15 minutes before the end of the incipient stage of the fire, they should be able to limit the amount of damage. However, the house fire, in this case, was sudden and the initial explosion caused a great deal of destruction before the fire department received any notification of the incident.