Canadian Firefighter Magazine

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Extension cords caused deadly St. George fire

July 26, 2017, St. George, N.B.- Fire investigators say a mess of extension cords and power bars, as well as the failure of an electrical component, were likely to blame for a fire that killed a New Brunswick woman and her three adult sons in April.

The bodies of Esther Boyd, who was in her 80s, and her sons Davey, Billy and Robbie were found inside a St. George, N.B., home on April 11.

Investigator Jeff Cross wrote in his report that multiple electrical cords were found near where the fire started.

''With the findings of such a tremendous amount of extension cords, power bars, power blocks along with various electronic devices throughout the room, and more specifically within the area of origin, and although not a specific source of ignition identified, it is my opinion that the poor electrical housekeeping contributed to this fatal fire,'' Cross wrote.

The report said many of the cords and power bars were plugged into one another and running to various parts of the room and beyond to other rooms. The cords were plugged into a receptacle behind a couch which was half consumed by the fire.

There was also an electric razor on the couch with half its cord missing.

''Further investigation within this area did not conclude any one actual ignition source, but with the amount of electrical potential within the area and the amount of damage, the ignition source may have been consumed,'' Cross wrote.

Neighbours called 911 when they saw smoke and flames coming from the home shortly after noon that day.

The tragedy shook the small town of 1,500 in the province's southwest where Davey Boyd was an honorary member of the fire department.

Following the fire, Rick Doucet, the area's member of the legislature, said Esther Boyd took good care of her sons, who each had mental challenges.

He said everyone in the community was familiar with Davey, who always wore his firefighters uniform.

''Winter, spring summer, fall you'd see Davey going ... all the crews, the fire chiefs, all the firefighters took a lot of pride in that ... he was part of the team no matter what,'' Doucet said.

Just hours before the fire, Davey Boyd was on hand as the department unveiled a new fire truck.

By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.

July 26, 2017
By The Canadian Press