CARMEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Carmel police chief is disputing a report that said the fire that killed a Larchmont police captain, his wife and two daughters in Putnam County earlier this month apparently started outside the home.
Inspector Woody Ledwith told the Journal News on Wednesday that the blaze started outside the house near electric and gas meters and spread quickly up the vinyl siding and through walls into the ceilings.
The inspector said he was still uncertain of the cause.
But in a statement, Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson called the inspector’s findings “speculative in nature and in some cases taken out of context.”
“Mr. Ledwith was speaking to the Journal News reporter regarding the hypothetical cause of the fire which was based on subjective theories that were not necessarily based on facts that he was aware of,” Johnson said in the statement.
He also said samples taken from the home that were sent to a crime lab in Albany have been returned to Carmel police and are being evaluated.
Larchmont Police Capt. Thomas Sullivan, his wife, Donna, and their two daughters, 17-year-old Meghan and 15-year-old Mairead, all died in the May 1 fire.
The Sullivan’s son, Tommy Jr., managed to escape the blaze and survived.
Authorities said the Sullivan home had eight wired smoke detectors, but it’s unclear if they were working
While the cause of the deadly blaze is still under investigation, Johnson did say last week that investigators determined it started in the front of the north side of the home.
Investigators have also been looking closely at the construction of the home, which was made of newer, fast-burning materials.
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