Officials determine cause of fatal Fall River fire

Officials have determined the cause of a fatal fire in Fall River over the weekend. 

The Fire Marshal announced Wednesday the cause of the Feb. 14 fire was the improper use or handling of smoking materials. 

Joseph Mello, 61, was killed in the fire.

Firefighters said when they arrived on the scene on Eastern Avenue, they found the entire third floor of the house engulfed in flames. Mello’s body was found on the third floor once the fire was put out.

The fire marshal said Mello lived on the third floor, the second floor was unoccupied and Mello’s relatives lived on the first floor. Officials said Mello ignited himself while smoking a cigar and using a refillable lighter that used lighter fluid. 

Frigid temperatures caused equipment to freeze, making it difficult for firefighters to put out the flames.

When the fire broke out, Fall River only had one firetruck in the area, as others were already out fighting fires nearby.

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