Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Clues to Fire Cause Hide Amid Ashes.(Metro & New Mexico)

Byline: Steve Shoup Journal Staff Writer

* Investigators dig through wreckage to learn what to look for

The flame-resistant Christmas tree stood melted and charred in the corner of the blackened living room. It would be obvious to conclude that a nearby space heater had set the tree and couch ablaze.

But the real cause of the fire was a candle that was on a cabinet next to the couch. Heat from the unshielded candle ignited the couch and its foam cushions, setting the entire room ablaze within 4 1/2 minutes.

Firefighters had moved that cabinet across the room while fighting the blaze, as part of a training exercise for arson investigators.

"Look for everything. …

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