LIVINGSTON—Donald Lynk, 84, of 35 Twin Drive, died in a fire at his home the night of Saturday, December 12.
It was determined during an autopsy at St. Peter’s Hospital December 13 that Mr. Lynk died as a result of inhaling hot gas and smoke, Livingston State Police Senior Investigator Gary Mazzacano told The Columbia Paper, late Sunday afternoon.
After spending most of the dismal day at the fire scene with Livingston fire officials, the Columbia County Cause and Origin Team and investigators from the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Sr. Inv. Mazzacano said the cause of the fire remains undetermined, but has been ruled accidental. Officials cannot rule out a light fixture in the den on the ground floor as the possible point of origin, said the senior investigator.
Both Mr. Lynk and his wife Elizabeth were at home when the fire broke out on the ground floor of their raised ranch-style house at 7:17 p.m., according to Livingston State Police Investigator Eric Barnes.
The ground floor was half garage and half living space, the second floor was the main living quarters, Investigator Barnes said.
Mr. Lynk was in the den that evening when the fire erupted and he called upstairs to his wife to call the fire department.
Mrs. Lynk told her husband to get out of the house, then exited from the kitchen door to the deck and went over to get the neighbors, said Sr. Inv. Mazzacano.
The initial fire dispatch alerted firefighters that an occupant of the home was trapped.
The firefighters and State Police, who were first to arrive on the scene, found the house engulfed and tried unsuccessfully to enter the burning structure to save Mr. Lynk. They were forced back by intense flames and heat, said Sr. Inv. Mazzacano.
Mr. Lynk’s body was recovered after the blaze was extinguished.
Columbia County Coroner George Davis pronounced Mr. Lynk dead at the scene.
“We don’t know if he stayed in the house and was trying to put the fire out” when he was overcome, said Sr. Inv. Mazzacano.
Clermont and Greenport firefighters with their FAST team were summoned to the scene, according to Columbia County 911.
Taghkanic firefighters went to Livingston fire station #1 to fill tankers, Claverack stood by at Livingston, Hudson stood by in quarters for Greenport, Germantown stood by in Becraft’s quarters.
Northern Dutchess Paramedics and the Greenport Rescue Squad with its fire rehab unit were also on the scene.
Firefighters cleared the scene at 11 p.m. December 12, but returned there the morning of December 13 to conduct their investigation.
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