Investigators have ruled a deadly Bedford house fire that killed a four-year-old girl accidental, concluding it was sparked by unsafe electrical wiring.
The fire broke out at a home in the 700 block of Grove Street in Bedford on January 17. At a press conference Monday afternoon, officials said the fire began in a bedroom closet on the second floor just before 5 a.m. next to the bedroom of a sixteen-year-old boy.
According to authorities, a 17-year-old girl in the next bedroom over heard him shouting. She saw smoke in the hallway and called 911.
Nothing was plugged in where the fire started, according to Bedford County fire marshal Jeff Pauley, but three types electrical wiring were used throughout the home. One of those wires was often used in the 1960’s, Pauley said, and is considered dangerous.
The wiring was not connected safely where the fire started, he added.
“When this work was done…they likely used practices and procedures that were acceptable at the time,” Pauley said. “A lot of these connections were hidden in wall cavities. So the average homeowner has no clue that they’re there until something happens.”
Several additions made to the home made it difficult to get the fire put out quickly, according to fire officials.
There were no smoke detectors on the second floor of the home, Pauley said. The first floor did have a smoke detector in the kitchen, but there were no batteries inside, he added.