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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Unattended frying pan listed as cause of fatal fire in Newport

NEWPORT — Investigators say a fire that took the life of a Newport resident on Christmas Day started after a frying pan inside the kitchen ignited.

The fire broke out at around 9:15 p.m. in an upstairs apartment on Pleasant Street in Newport City.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, stopped the spread of the fire, and saved the rest of the apartment building.

Tragically, one of the occupants of the second-floor apartment, identified as 39-year-old Jonathan Coe, was unable to get out of the apartment and perished in the fire.

Over the past several days a lengthy investigation into the events leading up to the fire has been ongoing, included several interviews, a search of the area for cell phone and home security videos and photographs, and additional examinations of the apartment during daylight hours.

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At the time of the fire, authorities say Coe was inside the apartment while his roommate, Scott Maxham, was inside the building but in a different apartment.

The examination determined the origin of the fire was in the kitchen on the electric burners of the stovetop.

A frying pan with vegetable oil was left unattended on a heated burner until it reached a temperature causing it to ignite.

The cause of the fire is classified as an unattended cooking fire and is accidental.

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