The cause of the deadly fire on Belmont Avenue in Springfield has been released.
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said the fire was caused by a child using matches.
The announcement was made during a news conference at Springfield Fire Department headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
The March 18 fire at 49 Belmont Avenue left dozens of people homeless, and resulted in the deaths of Aden Abdakadr, and his two children, 2-year-old Ahmed Ahmed, and 1-year-old Fatumo Ahmed.
A joint investigation by Springfield Fire and Police Departments, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and ATF determined that the fire started in the second floor apartment where the victims lived.
Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi could not comment how old the child is. They say the child was playing with matches in the second floor of the Belmont Avenue apartment. Commissioner Clavi told 22News even though this was an accident there are ways to prevent this from happening again.
“At the appropriate time in the grieving process we’ll offer fire education to the child and make sure she’s taken care of,” Commissioner Clavi said.
From 2012-2016 there were 531 child and youth set fires reported in Massachusetts causing 14 injuries. Ostroskey told 22News that fire education starts at home.
“We know that every fire starts small and every fire has the ability to take a life,” said Ostroskey. “Which is why adults need to take every fire use by children and youth seriously.”
The investigation also determined that the battery-operated smoke alarm inside the apartment did not work, and residents were notified of the danger by smoke alarms in the hallways.
The four story apartment had 20 units with one and two bedrooms. At least 80 people were left without a home, many of whom Springfield Fire Commissioner Calvi said were immigrants.
“The fire department is working with the elders and leaders of the Somali and other refugee communities to provide fire safety education in order to prevent another tragedy,” Calvi said.
As for the current status of the building, the 49 Belmont Avenue side is not being occupied at this time.
Most apartments on the Leyfred Terrace side have been reoccupied.
Commissioner Calvi told 22News that residents who haven’t returned to the apartment are staying with close friends and family.
The Belmont Avenue building was not required to have a fire suppression sprinkler system.