Police: Double-Fatal Fire in South Hero Likely Caused by Burn Pit, Ruled Accidental

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Vermont State Police say hot embers from a burn pit likely sparked a fire that killed two people in South Hero Thursday.

In an interview with Local 22 & Local 44 Friday, Detective Sgt. Todd Ambroz said hot embers from the burn pit hit the attached garage of  the home, catching it on fire. The fire then quickly spread to the house, trapping and killing Elinor Lawrence, 87, and her daughter, Carolyn Lawrence, 54, police said.  

“The young lady that called 911 said that within 10 minutes of calling 911, the whole house was in flames. So it didn’t take long at all,” said Ambroz.

Police said the burn pit, which was about 33 feet from the garage, was being used to burn baling twine from bales of hay, and trash.

“The trash had been lit by a family member at approximately 11:15 a.m. on the morning of the fire and was believed to have burned out,” a media release stated.

The fire has been ruled accidental.

Crews responded to the fire at Bayview Farm just after 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The farm is located in the village off of Route 2.

This post was updated on February 11 to include new information about the cause. 

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