1900 East Elmore Road

The home of Amy and Francis Hill in Elmore was destroyed by fire Aug. 5. Francis Hill died from smoke inhalation, investigators said.

NOTE: This story has been updated since originally reported.

An Elmore house fire last week killed one of the home’s owners and injured the other, investigators said, noting the fire was likely caused by an electrical malfunction.

According to Vermont State Police, Francis Hill, 68, died from the smoke and soot created by the fire on Aug. 5 at his house, located at 1900 East Elmore Road. The other owner, Amy L. Hill, was taken to UVM Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation and second degree burns.

Police say the call came in at 9:21 p.m. The first firefighters were on the scene within five minutes and began battling the fire, which was in the living room. They were able to get inside the home and pull Francis Hill to safety where immediate life-saving measures began. Hill was transported to Copley Hospital, but did not survive the thick smoke and soot that rapidly filled the house.

An autopsy will soon follow to determine the manner and cause of death, police said.

Investigators arrived on scene just before midnight and watched over the home until it could be examined in daylight Thursday.

Investigators said the fire was caused by an electronically powered lift chair/recliner in the living room — chafing of electrical wires in the chair’s lift eventually shorted out and caused the upholstery and foam cushions to ignite.

The Hills were in another part of the house when the fire began, police said. They were alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm in a hallway, but the fire spread too quickly for them to extinguish.

The living room and front porch sustained significant smoke, soot and some water damage, but firefighters were able to save a majority of the house.

Two dogs and two cats also died in the blaze. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz of the Vermont State Police at 878-7111, or by email at todd.ambroz@vermont.gov.

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