State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield, and Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe announced the cause of yesterday’s fatal fire at 30 Railroad Street in Andover was smoking while on home oxygen. The fire took the life of 85-year old Nicholas Rizzo II according to District Attorney Blodgett’s Office.
The fire originated inside the victim’s fourth floor apartment at 10:50 a.m. There was evidence of smoking in the presence of home medical oxygen. The fire was jointly investigated by the Andover Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Office of the Essex District Attorney.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Fire is a tragic way for a long life to come to an end. Massachusetts has on average 5-6 fires each year with 1-2 deaths and 4 injuries from fires involving medical oxygen.”
The Department of Fire Services has a public awareness/public education campaign Breathe Easy: Home Oxygen Fire Safety (https://www.mass.gov/service-details/home-oxygen-safety) that tries to educate physicians, patients, families, housing officials and firefighters about the fire dangers of bringing medical oxygen into the home. Materials are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.