NEW ULM, Minn. (WCCO) — Investigators in New Ulm have determined the cause of a fire at a bed & breakfast that killed 6 people.
The city fire department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal have ruled the fire accidental, caused by unattended candles.
According to Deputy State Fire Marshal Becky White, candles have become the No. 2 cause of residential fires in Minnesota — behind cooking — and reflect a national trend.
“On average, a candle fire in a home is reported to fire departments every 30 minutes around the country”, said White. “Just a single little candle can cause so much destruction and people fail to realize that when they light it just because it’s nice to look at.”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports
The fire happened early July 2. The fire started on the north side of the front porch.
The fire killed 48-year-old Roberta Ann McCrea of New Ulm, her two daughters, 15-year-old Abby Gayle Wood and 3-year-old Savannah McCrea, 67-year-old Andrew Uhing of Hardington, Neb., 62-year-old Joseph J. Bergman of Centuria, Wis. and 59-year-old Dian Lee Bergman of Centuria, Wis.
Four other people managed to escape the fire.
After the fire, it was reported that house hadn’t been recently inspected and wasn’t licensed for guests. The establishment’s owner never intended for the main house to be a bed and breakfast so it was never inspected for paying guests.
At the time of the fire, officials said there was no way of proving whether a fire inspection would’ve saved the lives of the 6 victims.