Lancaster mayor gets 2nd probe of fatal fire - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster mayor gets 2nd probe of fatal fire

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Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray has hired a third party to investigate a fire last month that left two people dead and three firefighters injured.

Officials have said an electrical problem sparked the February 18 blaze at 225 E. Madison Street, and that a flashover occurred as Lt. Andre Kelley tried to rescue 39-year-old Pauline Stone and 6-year-old Leilani Roman, meaning everything in the room reached the combustion point and burst into flames.

Stone and Roman died. Kelley suffered burns on 40 percent of his body.

"It was probably the most difficult day I've had as being mayor. First to go down to Lt. Kelly's home with the fire chief and advise his wife that he was at the hospital and take his wife to the hospital," said Gray. "Advise the families that the child was dead and the woman was dead. They don't pay you enough to do that type of job, really."

Although the fire investigation is over, Gray said he wants to ensure transparency.

"When this fire occurred, immediately there were rumors that the fire hydrant didn't work or things like that, turned out to be incorrect," said Gray.

Gray's goal is to simply right the rumors and find out how to keep something this tragic from happening in his city again.

"Investigate and report back to all of us as to what occurred, what could've been done, what was done, not to assign blame to anybody," said Gray.

Lancaster Fire Chief Tim Gregg said he fully supports the investigation.

Gray said the investigation will take about three weeks. He plans to release the findings to the public. He said the investigation will cost between $10,000 to $15,000.

"To keep something as horrible as this from happening in the future, to me, seems like a small amount," said Gray.

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