Stephenville apartment fire determined to be accidental

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on January 10, 2017

The house in which Richard and Mae Blanchard died in a fire early Friday on St. George’s Avenue in Stephenville has now been boarded up, with the police and fire and emergency services investigation completed.

©Frank Gale/TC Media

While police and fire and emergency services investigators could not pinpoint the exact cause of an apartment fire on St. George’s Avenue in Stephenville early Friday, they did determine it was accidental.

Richard and Mae Blanchard of Stephenville were the couple who died in the fire reported at about 3:10 a.m. that day.

Autopsies carried out on Monday revealed that the cause of death for both was asphyxia due to smoke inhalation, said Cpl. Steve Henley of the Bay St. George RCMP.

Richard Blanchard was 81 years old and his wife, Mae Blanchard, was 78.

The fire was concentrated in their apartment, part of a duplex structure, with the other end receiving little damage and neighbours helping a woman in her 90s out of her apartment in the early morning.

About 25 firefighters from the Stephenville and Kippens fire departments descended on the scene at 27-B St. George’s Ave. after receiving the call, and quickly put out the fire.

A memorial service for the couple is taking place on Thursday at Russell’s Funeral Home Chapel.