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Arson Ruled Out In Deadly Fire

This article is more than 7 years old.

Fire officials say they've ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze a Peabody firefighter was battling when he died.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office said Saturday they believe the fire was started accidentally. Residents have said the fire at the multi-family home was caused by an electrical problem in a second-floor bedroom.

James Rice was killed while fighting the fire Friday afternoon. Fire officials said the 42-year-old Rice breathed in toxic fumes and his death was due to a medical condition. Autopsy results are pending.

Rice leaves a wife and three children. Peabody Fire Chief Steven Pasdon said Rice was loved and would be greatly missed.

His death came about two weeks after Worcester firefighter Jon Davies was killed after the rear of burning building collapsed on him.

This program aired on December 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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