Skip to comments.Man Survives After He Started A Cigarette Fire That Killed Both His Parents And 2 Sisters
Posted on 07/01/2012 3:47:12 AM PDT by grundle
Hell never forgive himself.
The sole survivor of a Westchester blaze that killed his entire family a police-captain father, mother and two sisters accidentally sparked the inferno last month when he flicked a cigarette on dried-up mulch, officials revealed yesterday.
The young man was in shock, Carmel Police Lt. Brian Karst said about Thomas Sullivan Jr., 20.
For somebody who was in shock, he was very honest and forthright with us.
Sullivan smoked twice on May 1 between 8 and 10 p.m. right next to the front porch of his home in Carmel, Putnam County, fire investigators explained.
Smoldering ash from one of the cigarettes landed on the dried-out mulch and burned for hours growing when late-night winds began to pick up.
It lied in an area, burned and rolled for a while and took off, said Dan Tompkins, captain of the Putnam County Fire Investigation Unit.
The fire intensified at about 2 a.m. and engulfed the home on quiet Wyndham Lane in minutes, officials said.
Four months of dry weather and the homes lightweight construction vinyl, wood and plastic accelerated the flames, officials said.
Theres a fire in the house! yelled Thomas Sullivan, 48 a former NYPD cop who worked in The Bronx when the blaze began consuming the two-story home.
Thomas Jr. was awakened by his fathers screams. He managed to crawl down the stairs and out the garage door as the inferno spread upstairs and filled the house with smoke.
But the yellow colonial collapsed moments later burying the elder Sullivan, his wife, Donna, 48, a nurse, and high-school students Meaghan, 18, and Mairead, 13.
Four dogs also died in the inferno, including Maireads two pets.
He was warned. I don't understand why so many smokers who are knowledgeable and thorough about fire safety in every other way pretend that a cigarette doesn't count as a fire, and smokers who would never litter otherwise are okay with tossing their cigarette butts on the ground.
‘Cause they’re stupid.
Their fault for making him smoke outside?
They may want to finish the investigation and be sure, otherwise Thomas may consider suicide.
I’m going to say that there is a chance that this guy simply isn’t telling the truth.
Fires can happen accidentally.Authorities may investigate this further but if they find no evidence of gasoline,etc they'll probably accept it as an accident.The fact that the kid barely escaped himself seems to direct suspicion away from him.Incredibly careless? Yah. Arsonist? Probably not.
Mulch kills....Outlaw mulch and only criminals will have mulch.
I believe mulch is more a generic term in this case......Probly weeks of leaves and dried up kindeling material that coulds smolder for hours and when the conditions were right ...POOF
How many forestfires are caused by aholes flipping butts out of cars that now no longer have ash trays.
That is a practice worthy of a 1000 dollar fine if caught,IF!
General carelessness. My daughter left one of her pet reptile’s sun lamps on and sitting atop an oak dresser while she cleaned its cage. Work completed, she hurriedly left for the weekend. I awoke at O’dark hundred that night to the delicious aroma of bar-b-que. Found the lamp slowly burning its way down through a smoldering dresser top glowing like a charcoal briquette. Another 1/2 inch, and it would have burned clear through.
“stir the ashes, then drown again.” A 1960s Ad Council commercial on how to put out a campfire. I still remember the goofy VO and instructions.
I know it’s incredibly tragic and stoopid, but apparently, they took the hot ashes out of the fireplace because the girls were concerned that Santa would not be able to get down the chimney. I am not sure they regularly used the fireplace. Alcohol was probably involved.
And who witnessed his claims that he barely escaped?
His behavior is in such stark contrast to the boyfriend's. Faced with the same situation I would like to believe I would either get the girls out, or die trying.
The girls mother said that her BF put his hands in the ashes to make sure they were cool,,and then removed them to the back porch or hall.
Not enough, if he really did it at all. And sad that she glanced at the ashes as she went to bed and said to herself, “I really should put those outside”.
Three beautiful little girls and her parents died in the fire.
Actually the wood mulch sold at garden and home stores IS dangerous!
For myself I consider it actually unsightly:a bunch of schredded,rotting bark ,home to all kinds of bugs and RIGHT AGAINST the house!?I also consider it a stupid thing to place around one’s home.
ESPECIALLY since I have personally seen three fires started in the mulch around decorative planting at the entrances to businesses;all started by tossed cigarette butts,and all smoldered for hours before being noticed.In one case I personally escaped serious burns narrowly:on seeing a wisp of smoke coming from the mulch,I stamped on the spot,only to have the crust break through and reveal many square feet of red,glowing coals from the smoldering mulch !!!!
You will not find combustible mulch near any of my buildings or home!
I worked in a gated community in the 1980s and one resident did exactly as you describe:put the ashes from a fireplace or wood stove into a plastic garbage can which he then set on the wooden deck!!!!
Luckily the ranger on patrol that night spotted the fire while it was still small and both the home and family were saved.It could easily have been a tragedy.
Tragic story! I am so sensitive to the smell of smoke I think I would wake up screaming long before the house collapsed on me.
In fact I did wake up screaming one night when we had a malfunction of our heating system in the attic. My husband didn’t smell anything but I insisted he go up into the attic where he found a very small fire just beginning to burn.
I have a neighbor that tosses butts.. he’s thirtyish and lives with mom and dad. stupid? more like just lazy.. carefree.. and who knows ,, like this guy one day,, family free too.