POTSDAM — The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department has deemed the Dec. 5 fire that preceded the death of West Stockholm Fire Department Chief Robert White accidental.
Around 7 p.m. Thursday, Chief White responded to a fire near his home, in the rear of a Potsdam residence, 414 Route 11B. Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Caringi said investigators found a mattress fire to have been started by a 10-year-old boy living in the house.
The boy’s mother, Detective Caringi said, moved the mattress outside to an open back porch after thinking it had been extinguished. The fire rekindled and Potsdam Fire Department responded to the scene; the fire was under control in about 15 minutes. The fire was determined to be accidental and no charges have been filed, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Shortly after arriving, Chief White collapsed and was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:45 p.m.
Detective Caringi said the initial autopsy report indicates Chief White’s cause of death was related to heart disease, though the final report has not been completed.