NH DOS - Somersworth Fatal Fire Investigation


John J. Barthelmes, Commissioner

Division of Fire Safety


J. William Degnan, State Fire Marshal

New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan, Somersworth Fire Chief Keith Hoyle, and Somersworth Police Chief Dean Crombie, announce a fatal fire investigation at 86 South Street in the town of Somersworth, NH.


The Somersworth Fire Department was dispatched yesterday evening at 5:44PM to the above address for a reported structure fire. The fire was reported by multiple callers.  Upon arrival, first responding units observed heavy fire at the front of the residence on all floors, including the attic. Upon entry to the second floor of the residence, the Somersworth Fire Department discovered a deceased male occupant on the floor, in the hallway adjacent to a bedroom.


An autopsy took place this morning at the NH State Medical Examiner’s Office in Concord, NH. As a result, the victim has been positively identified as Janis Millers, age 54, of Somersworth, NH. The cause of death is smoke inhalation and the manner of death was deemed accidental.


The fire is under investigation by members of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Somersworth Fire Department, the Somersworth Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Although the Origin & Cause investigation is ongoing, preliminary indications are that the fire originated in the area of a porch, located at the front of the home.


Marshal Degnan would like to remind all citizens of the dangers of unattended or improperly discarded smoking materials and the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home. Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States.  In the event of a fire, immediately exit your home and call 911. Keep exits clear of debris and have a home fire escape plan with at least two ways out. If you have any questions about fire safety in your home, please contact your local fire department or the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office.