Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 16, 2012

Cause of fatal fire in city still not pinpointed

Damage to the house on Carolina Avenue in the fire that claimed the life of 56-year-old Yvette Thornton on Tuesday was so extensive, the cause-and-origin investigators will need more time to pin down the reason for the blaze.

“That will be awhile,” Lockport Police Capt. Rick Podgers said Thursday.

Firefighters suspect it was an accidental kitchen fire and that Thornton may have been unconscious in the bathroom.

Fire inspectors, cable workers and insurance adjusters have inspected the house. Electricians continue to comb through the rear of the house, which is heavily charred by the flames. Forensic samples will be tested to rule out other possible causes.

Thornton was a retired Harrison Radiator employee.

Neighbors said they smelled smoke about three hours before the fire broke out. Firefighters said fires can smolder and burn for a couple of hours before they burst into flames.

City firefighters had  trouble getting inside because the heat was so intense. They entered the burned-out back of the house to search for Thornton.

There was concern the Chevy Impala  parked in the driveway would explode, and the siding on the neighboring house bubbled due to the heat.

Damages were estimated to be close to $80,000.

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