A joint investigation conducted by the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives alongside Dauphin Island and Mobile County officials has determined the fires which occurred in the early morning hours of August 29 were ruled "accidental," according to State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk.
Paulk says the fire which occurred first and ultimately destroyed a restaurant "was traced back to a smoker grill at the restaurant."
While firefighters were busy with the business fire, a residential fire was also called in about three miles away. Before being extinguished, the second fire spread to three other houses, leading to the destruction of four homes. Again, evidence gathered during the subsequent investigation determined this fire to have also been accidental.
"The residential fire began under a home where a boat was being repaired and spread to the other three residences before the flames could be extinguished," the Fire Marshal said.
Although there was one fatality reported during the fires, it has been determined the death was caused by a heart attack suffered by one of the residents who was attempting to salvage belongings from his burning home.