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No cause determined in Brimfield blaze


Neighbors collecting donations for displaced family



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A Dec. 23 fire destroyed this house on 8 Oakwood Road in Brimfield. Investigators could not determine a cause for the fire. (click for larger version)
January 12, 2011
BRIMFIELD — According to investigators, the cause of the devastating Dec. 23 fire that destroyed a home on 8 Oakwood Road is currently undetermined.

"Due to the amount of damage the fire created, we were unable to conclusively define a cause," said Trooper David Percy, who is assigned to the State Fire Marshal's office.

According to Percy, the owner of the house, Robert Wemyss, passed a polygraph exam and fully cooperated with investigators, who determined that he was not responsible for setting the blaze. Wemyss, a call firefighter with the Brimfield Fire Department, lived at the house with his son, T.J., his girlfriend, Tina Birchenough, and her two children, ages 7 and 12.

It was the second fire at the house in less than two years. An April 2009 blaze caused significant damage to the house, and Wemyss had just completed repairing it at the time of the most recent blaze.

"We were able to determine that the fire started somewhere in the front section of the house," Percy said. "There was a lit Christmas tree in that part of the house, but we couldn't determine if the lights caused the fire or if it was something else nearby. There was simply too much damage to come up with a definitive conclusion."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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