PEABODY (CBS) – The cause of a fire that killed a Peabody firefighter last month was electrical, the state fire marshal said Wednesday.

Forty-two-year-old James Rice died fighting a three-alarm fire at a multi-unit home December 23rd.

The exact cause of Rice’s death is still under investigation but authorities believe he may have breathed in toxic fumes.

“The Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released its final report on the cause of FF Rice’s death. Final results sometimes take several weeks until all tests are completed. Although his cause of death is undetermined pending further testing, it is clear FF Rice died while fighting the fire,” State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said in a statement.

The fire was ruled accidental last month.

Rice was an 11-year veteran of the department.

Two memorial funds have been set up in his honor:

Local 925 c/o James Rice

PO Box 4313

Peabody, MA 01960

James Rice Memorial Fund

Northshore Bank

32 Main Street

Peabody, MA 01960


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