NBC New York
The raging fire in Carmel that nearly wiped an entire family started when a lit cigarette was carelessly flicked into some mulch, officials say. Perhaps the most devastating part of it all was that the only survivor of the fire was the one smoking the cigarette. Ida Siegal reports.
A young man's discarded cigarette ash sparked the house fire that killed his parents and two sisters in Carmel, N.Y., officials said Thursday.
The May 1 fire killed Larchmont Capt. Thomas Sullivan Sr., his wife, Donna and their two teenage daughters. The 20-year-old son escaped.
Officials said the son, Thomas Sullivan Jr., had been smoking near the front porch, where the ashes were tossed.
"We asked him, you know, 'Does anybody in the house smoke, have they you know, been outside anywhere smoking?'" said Lt. Brian Karst of the Carmel Police Department. "Right away he told us that yes, that he was a smoker, that he had smoked outside."
The ashes smoldered for several hours before plastic lattice attached to the house caught fire, and the blaze spread, officials said. The house was quickly consumed in a fireball.
A coroner said the victims died from smoke and carbon monoxide.
Police said the son was told Wednesday night that his cigarette ash was the cause.
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