Northeast Times

Marshal says smoking is to blame in fatal fire

The Phil­adelphia fire mar­shal has de­clared smoking as the cause of a fire that claimed the life of a Frank­ford auto sales lot own­er and in­jured his room­mate on Jan. 13.

Fire de­part­ment of­fi­cials did not spe­cify who was smoking or how it pre­cip­it­ated the blaze in a com­mer­cial/res­id­en­tial build­ing at 5323 Frank­ford Ave. shortly after 8 a.m. John Blitch­ford, 84, re­portedly died at a city hos­pit­al that day from in­jur­ies he suffered in the fire. A room­mate, de­scribed by fire in­vest­ig­at­ors only as an eld­erly man, es­caped the blaze and was treated for non-life-threat­en­ing in­jur­ies. In­vest­ig­at­ors said the flames ori­gin­ated in a first-floor kit­chen. The two-story brick struc­ture had one op­er­able smoke alarm po­si­tioned in the base­ment “re­mote from the fire.”

Blitch­ford was the city’s third fire fatal­ity in Janu­ary.

To learn about fire safety, vis­it the fire de­part­ment’s www.freedom­from­fire.com ull;•

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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