PEABODY (CBS) – Arson has been ruled out as the cause of the fire that claimed the life of Peabody Firefighter James Rice. Investigators were at the scene of the three-alarm blaze on Hancock Street overnight collecting evidence.
At this point, investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s office believe Friday’s fire was started accidentally.
Rice, an 11-year veteran succumbed to injuries suffered while fighting the blaze. Peabody Fire Chief Steven Pasdon says Rice may have inhaled toxic fumes.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports
Pasdon says the 46-year-old was between the first and second floors of the building when he encountered heavy and eventually overwhelming fire conditions.
Rice was immediately worked on by paramedics and fire crews, but was pronounced dead at North Shore Medical Center.
Autopsy results are pending.
A wake will be held on Thursday December 29, at Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home at 82 Lynn Street in Peabody from 3-8p.m.
A funeral will be held Friday December 30 at St. John The Baptist Church, at 16 Church Street in Peabody at 10a.m.
A memorial fund has been set up to aid Rice’s wife and three children:
Peabody Firefighter James Rice Memorial Fund
North Shore Bank
32 Main Street Peabody, MA 01960
A fund has also been set up at North Shore Bank to benefit the 13 people who are now homeless because of the fire.