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Connecticut State Police Patch STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2011
Troopers Conclude Bridgeport Fire Department
Line of Duty Death and Fire Investigation

Troopers assigned to the Connecticut State Police Office of State Fire Marshal have completed their investigation of the structure fire that occurred on July 24, 2010 at 39-41 Elmwood Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The investigation has concluded the origin and cause of the fire, the code compliance of the involved structure, and the circumstances surrounding the untimely deaths of Bridgeport Fire Department Lieutenant Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michel Baik. 

The investigation has concluded that the fire originated in a second floor bedroom as a result of the unattended use of a lit candle left too close to combustibles.

The code compliance analysis investigation revealed that the structure had been converted from a two-family dwelling to a three-family dwelling at an undetermined time, and based upon the fact the conversion was never cited by Building Officials, a necessary prerequisite of due process for liability under the Connecticut Building Code, the violation cannot be pursued.

The untimely death investigation concluded that the deaths of both firefighters were accidental.  Lieutenant Velasquez’ cause of death was determined to be asphyxia associated with smoke inhalation and exposure to fire. The air cylinder from his Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) was empty indicating he ran out of air. 

Firefighter Baik’s cause of death was determined to be smoke inhalation.  He was found with his air mask removed and the air cylinder from his Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) was empty.

This investigation has been reviewed with the Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Office and, after an analysis of the facts and circumstances of the entire incident it was concluded that no criminal charges are appropriate and there will be no further action with this investigation.

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Lt. J. Paul Vance