Fire that claimed Bowie student believed to be accidental, originated in kitchen -- Gazette.Net


The cause of a Frostburg fire that took the life of a Bowie man was most likely accidental and originated in the kitchen, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Lateef Gazal, 23, of Bowie died in a Feb. 14 fire at a college rental house located at 144 Bowery St. Gazal was a student at Frostburg State University majoring in business, according to Oliver Alkire, senior deputy state fire marshal.

Gazal shared the rental with three others; two escaped with minor injuries and the third was not at home at the time of the fire, Alkire said.

The fire is believed to have started in the first floor kitchen of the dwelling, Alkire said.

Although the fire is believed to be accidental in nature, Alkire said investigation continues into the specific source of ignition for the blaze.

Alkire said the rental house had been inspected by the city in December 2013, and no code violations were found. A private inspection was also done in September 2013 at the property owner’s behest, and no code violations were found at that time either, Alkire said.

Smoke alarms were present in the home, but investigators could not verify if they were operating, Alkire said.

Alkire said Gazal’s body was found in the living room area, but the exact location was difficult to determine due to the collapse.

A preliminary report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed the cause of Gazal’s death to be smoke inhalation and thermal burn injuries.