Report can’t rule out smoking as fatal fire cause

WARREN — A state fire marshal’s investigation into the fatal New Years house fire that killed a Warren mother and her son indicates the origin of the blaze possibly was a plastic tote located on the back patio that held cigarette ashes from a party that ended just hours before.

The investigation by assistant state fire Marshal Todd Stitt officially showed the cause of the fatal blaze at 2853 Woodland St. NE to be undetermined.

“The careless use of smoking materials cannot be eliminated as a possible ignition source for this incident,” he wrote in the report.

The fire killed Cassandra Gray, 34, and her 5-year-old son Otto Gray, who died at the scene from smoke inhalation, according to a report from the Trumbull County Coroner’s office.

Stitt came to his conclusion after interviews with the adult survivor of the blaze, Lee Gray, 43, and by video clips taken from neighbors and from Gray’s security camera at the rear of the home. The state fire marshal investigator and a Warren police detective interviewed Lee Gray twice on the day of the fire, first at the scene and then later that day at Gray’s parents’ home.



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