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House Fire on East Main Street Accidental; Electrical is Likely Cause

The fire displaced six people on Sunday.

Milford firefighters responding at the fire at 481 E. Main St. Credit: Milford Police Department.
Milford firefighters responding at the fire at 481 E. Main St. Credit: Milford Police Department.
A fire that moved quickly through a century-old house in Milford Sunday started accidentally, and the state has pinpointed an electrical outlet as the probable source, said the Milford Fire Department Tuesday.

The fire displaced six people, including a family of five with three small children. The fire started in the apartment unit rented by a single man, who was at work at the time of the fire, said Milford Deputy Fire Chief William Touhey Jr.

State investigators, including the Fire Marshal's office, identified an electrical outlet as the source of the fire, Touhey said. He said he hadn't seen a final report as yet, but said of the electrical cause: "that's where they're leaning right now."

Milford firefighters arrived at the two-and-a-half story structure and entered the building. The fire moved quickly through the walls and ceiling of the structure, into the second level, Touhey said. The age of the house contributed to that, he said, because there are no barriers to fire in the walls or ceilings of old, wood-frame structures. Property records indicated the structure dates to 1880.

A firefighter in the building moving up the staircase to the second floor had his boot fall through a step compromised by the fire, Touhey said, but he was not injured and did not require medical attention. "He kept right on going."

Initially firefighters were dispatched to the wrong address. The fire was at 481 E. Main St., near Holliston. Firefighters initially were dispatched to 48 E. Main St. Touhey said it was the result of a miscommunication that stemmed from the original call coming in on a cell phone, which does not pinpoint an address for dispatchers. Cell phone calls automatically are relayed to State Police, who then contact the Milford police and fire dispatch.

At 481 E. Main St., the family with three small children was at home at the time the fire broke out and reported it after escaping to safety, Touhey said. A third apartment in the building, on the second floor, is not leased and was not occupied.

The family, which has three young daughters, and the single man are being assisted by the American Red Cross. Employees at TD's Pub in Milford are accepting donations for the children and family.

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