Two dead in Tupper camper fire

Police ‘tentatively identify’ victims, coroner says autopsies will be performed today

TUPPER LAKE — A fatal camper fire at the Township 19 Recreation and Game Club on Pitchfork Pond Road is under investigation by state and local authorities, and a community is grieving the loss of two friends, family members, advocates and co-workers whom New York State Police have “tentatively” identified as victims of the fire.

At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Tupper Lake and Piercefield volunteer fire departments and State Police were called to a camper fire at the recreational camp deep in the woods.

State Police say campers driving past site #8 noticed smoke coming from the area, and that fire department members discovered a tow-behind camper destroyed by the fire. State Police said the departments found two victims, deceased, in the debris.

TLVFD Chief Royce Cole did not respond to calls seeking more information.

State Police tentatively identified the deceased as Thomas Smiddy, 53, and Kerry Jacobs, 48, both of Fort Covington.

Franklin County Coroner Shawn Stuart confirmed that two people died at the fire site, but said he won’t be able to identify them until he completes his autopsy, which he said he will conduct today.

State Police said in a press release that its investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and that pending autopsies will determine the causes of death.

Franklin County Emergency Services Coordinator Ricky Provost said he assisted the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control with its investigation. He said the state has taken the lead on the investigation and anticipates it will release its findings within a few days.

Provost said when he arrived, the camper was completely consumed by the fire. He spoke with witnesses in the club as part of his investigation.


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