The two-alarm fire in Hopkinton that claimed Don MacNeill’s life this weekend does not appear suspicious, said Hopkinton Fire Chief William R. Miller, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.
The joint investigation by the Hopkinton Fire Department and State Police assigned to the offices of the State Fire Marshal and Middlesex District Attorney determined that the fire began in the area of the front porch. While the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, the potential factors that have been identified are all accidental and there is no evidence that it was intentionally set.
“While the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, we know that there were no working smoke alarms at the scene,” said Chief Miller. “Every household needs working smoke alarms on every level of the home. If they take alkaline batteries, change the batteries twice a year and replace the alarm itself after 10 years. When purchasing a replacement, choose photoelectric alarms that have a sealed, long-life battery and a hush feature. Test them every month to be sure you and your family are protected.”
“In the past two weeks, Massachusetts communities have endured six fire deaths in homes without working smoke alarms,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “If you do one thing today, please make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, and check in on older relatives to be sure theirs are working too.”
At 1:12 a.m. on Sunday, April 9, Hopkinton dispatchers received multiple 911 calls for a fire at 69 Hayward St. First-arriving crews observed heavy fire showing from the one-level, single-family ranch house and immediately requested mutual aid. Crews learned of two people still in the house and immediately began an aggressive internal search.
Firefighters located Mr. MacNeill and his wife inside and removed them from the residence. Both were taken to Milford Regional Medical Center. Mr. MacNeill, a US military veteran, succumbed to his injuries, while his wife was transported to a Boston hospital for further treatment of her injuries. Through Mr. MacNeill’s children HopNews has learned that she remains in critical condition.
The fire was brought under control around 2:00 a.m. The house is a total loss.