Smoking materials likely caused fatal Presque Isle fire

Posted March 11, 2013, at 8:19 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An investigator with the state fire marshal’s office said that smoking materials likely caused the fire that killed a Presque Isle man on Sunday.

Tim Lowell, senior investigator with the agency, said Monday evening that the fire that killed 36-year-old Shawn Withington started at or near the end of the couch in the living room of his mobile home at 14 Tompkins Road.

Lowell said that he could not rule out the possibility that an improperly discarded or dropped cigarette started the blaze.

Withington lived at the home with his girlfriend and their 4-year-old daughter. He was found alone in his bedroom after firefighters put out the fire, Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

McCausland said that Withington’s girlfriend, Tricia Ciccolella, discovered the fire when she returned home about 4:30 a.m. with friends. They tried to enter the home but were forced back by smoke and flames.

The child was not at home.

Withington had been out with the others earlier in the night, but reportedly had gone home about 1 a.m.

The fire was reported just after 5 a.m.

Lowell said that there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

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