YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The fire that claimed the lives of two Yorktown residents the morning of April 10 has been ruled an accident, according to Yorktown Fire Chief Jay Swart.
The Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched at 2:58 a.m. that Monday to the home at 1703 Central St., where Jeffrey Ginman, 74, and Helen Ginman, 70, had lived for decades.
Swart said it was a complicated scene and the first fire to result in fatalities in Yorktown “in a number of years.” The flames that engulfed the home reached so high they could be seen from a distance, he said.
The Ginmans died as a result of injuries sustained in the fire, he confirmed.
“It's suspected that the cause was smoking in bed,” Swart said. “Unfortunately, due to the extent of the damage, there will be no way for sure to say definitely. The area of origin was the bed in the back bedroom. The incident has been deemed accidental with the cause being possible smoking in the bed.”
Despite attempts made by neighbors to rouse the couple, the doors were locked and the couple could not be reached until the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department arrived.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring homes and were able to gain entry and remove the victims from the home. Unfortunately, by the time authorities arrived, it was already too late and there was extensive structural damage to the home.
The couple was married for 50 years and lived in Yorktown just as long,
Residents of the quiet neighborhood said they were stunned and saddened by the incident.
A public Mass of Christian Burial at New St. Patrick's Church was held April 19 in Yorktown Heights, followed by a funeral procession leading to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne. The couple is survived by two sons; Bryan and Craig, and their spouses, five grandchildren and Jeffrey’s sister, Janice.