Rhode Island Officials Say Fire That Killed Teenager Appears Accidental

The fire that tore through a mobile home on Friday killing a 15-year-old boy appears to have been accidental, according to fire officials.


GLOCESTER, R.I. (AP) -- The fire that tore through a mobile home on Friday killing a 15-year-old boy appears to have been accidental, according to fire officials.

Police had not released the name of the boy on Monday, but family identified him as Brian Gagliastre, a sophomore at Ponaganset High School. He lived in the mobile home with his mother, Brenda, and brother, Michael. Neither was home when the fire began.

``Every indication so far is that the fire was accidental,'' said Chepachet Fire Chief Robert Dauphinais.

Fire officials believe the blaze started near the boiler, which runs on kerosene, he told The Providence Journal.

The boiler is located in the hallway near the back bedroom, he said. Gagliastre was found about 6 feet from the front door.

Flames were already bursting out all the doors and windows when emergency responders arrived. The floors at both entrances were gone, which delayed firefighters, who were forced to cut the walls apart with rescue saws to get inside.

Kristin Peterson, Gagliastre's 20-year-old cousin, was in her home across the street Friday around 9 p.m. when she heard loud noises. Her boyfriend's brother started screaming, ``Mike's house is on fire!''

Michael Gagliastre tried to kick in the door or punch a window, but the blaze was too powerful. He had left the house just a few minutes before to see his girlfriend who lives nearby, Peterson said.

Brenda Gagliastre returned home in response to calls on her cell phone.

``My house was engulfed in flames and I couldn't get anywhere near it,'' she said.

Dauphinais said he's seen four trailer fires, and ``the fires spread just as fast in one as all,'' because of the cheap materials they're made with. Glocester has not had a death from a fire since the early 1970s, he said.