HANSON, MASS. (WHDH) - The improper disposal of smoking materials caused a log cabin-styled house to go up in flames in Hanson last week, claiming the life of a beloved educator and a pet dog.
Margaret O’Toole-Driscoll, who worked as a substitute teacher in the East Bridgewater Public School District, died in the house fire that broke out at 164 Pennsylvania Ave. just after 9 p.m. on May 4.
An investigation determined that the fire originated on the front porch, where the 58-year-old victim commonly smoked, Hanson Fire Chief Jerome A. Thompson Jr., Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz, and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced in a joint press release.
O’Toole-Driscoll’s husband and two children escaped the blaze unharmed and informed responding firefighters that she remained trapped inside.
Crews began to extinguish the flames and look for O’Toole-Driscoll but fire officials say the intense heat and flames pushed them back.
“This fire is such a terrible tragedy for the family,” Thompson said. “I know I speak for the whole Hanson community when I say our hearts go out to them and we offer our deepest condolences.”
Ostroskey added that nearly 40 percent of the 21 fire deaths in Massachusetts so far this year have been caused by smoking.
“Please be a responsible smoker. Use a can with sand or water to safely dispose of smoking materials. Remember: Put it Out. All the Way. Every Time,” he said in a statement.
Investigators from the Hanson fire and police departments and state police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of the Plymouth District Attorney jointly investigated the fire.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)