Arson Confirmed in Copley Street Fire

A Copley Street house was destroyed on May 18 by a three-alarm fire.

Updated: 8:20 a.m.

Officials confirmed the  May 18 was arson.

Reports show the fire was set on the front porch of the $1 million plus house, according to 7News.

Jim Covino and his two daughters were awoken by the smoke detectors and escaped without any injuries, according to Fox 25 News. He told firefighters on scene he originally thought the alarm was false, but once he smelled the smoke and saw the fire coming from the front doors, that's when he retrieved his 9- and 13-year-old girls.

Firefighters from the Arlington, Stoneham, Winchester and Woburn departments responded to the call at 5:19 a.m. and battled the blaze for an hour and a half before it was put down.

“There was an aggressive interior fight which prevented damage to the new addition to the house,"  Chief John Nash said. "The part that burned is about 100 years old."

The investigator reported the fire was started on the front porch close to the front doors, which remained intact and closed. He said an aged, dry holiday wreath hanging on the door caused sufficient fuel to ignite the siding of the house and surrounding surfaces. These combined combustible materials made it easy for the fire to reach a heat level to climb the porch ceiling and then spread along the house.

Fire investigators said in the report although there isn't information on what material ignited the fire, they do believe there was human action involved and asked law inforcement to step in.

Reports show the fire caused $1 million worth of damage to the home and another $250,000 in household content. Covino told 7News although the house is demolished, he would rebuild it.

Covino and his wife, who was not present during the fire, opened the  in August 2010. Covino is a retired Winchester police officer, according to CBS Boston.

The fire is under investigation by the , State Fire Marshall’s Office and Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. No arrests have been made as of now.

The original report and investigator's notes concluding the fire was arson are attached in a PDF.

Check back with Winchester Patch for more updates on this story.

Editor's Note: Kim Covino said the "holiday wreath" was natural pine garland from Christmas twisted in lights she hadn't unwrapped yet. The coil was on the floor of the front porch to the left of the front door. "That's what ignited the fire, I think."

BAV June 07, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Unimaginable! There were little children sleeping in this home...
Harry C. June 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
So someone walked onto the porch of this house at around 5 AM and set fire to this man's dried out wreath? How strange. If they find the person that did this they should be charged with attempted murder.
Sheba June 07, 2012 at 08:00 PM
If this is being investigated why is the fire report being released. this just tips off the bad guys or gals. Also very poor report writing. I am also happy to see that no one was killed or harmed in this fire.
Lindsey Davidson (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Sheba, this fire report is public information. The investigation is now in the hands of the listed officials, and those reports will not be released because it's an open investigation. And I apologize you are not satisfied with my writing.
Lindsey Davidson (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Harry, I think the timing is one of the most scary parts of this incident. People are already out and about, and someone approached the house with so many potential witnesses. It's great no one was injured.
BAV June 07, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Another news source is quoting the Fire Chief as saying "What the report concludes is that its reasonable to suspect that a fire may have been caused by human action. That doesn’t mean that its arson." While the result is the same either way, I suppose the possibility exists that it was an accident of some sort. Only a monster would otherwise attempt to murder sleeping children.
Sheba June 07, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Lindsey Its not your report I was talking about, its the first part of the fire report written by the Captain. Yours was well done. I know its public information. But with an on going investigation I feel that the public shouldn't be privy to the information until the case is closed. just my opinion.
Harry C. June 08, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Hi Lindsey, I think your reporting is fine and also believe it is very helpful to release the fire report because it may jog a potential witnesses memory. Knowing that the fire may have been started by a person, rather than electrical short, might help identify the person or people who started the fire. Maybe a paper delivery person saw a car speeding away but didn't give it much thought at the time. Knowing the fire may have been set might lead that person to come forward. Everyone in town is talking about the fire so keeping some things hidden would only increase speculation about who started this fire and why. Better to put all the information on the table.
M. P. June 08, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Harry, very valid point.
M. P. June 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM
And I too think Lindsey is doing a great job. Welcome!
Lindsey Davidson (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Harry, these are all excellent points, and as a citizen, not a reporter, I do agree with you. In my short time here in Winchester I have learned very quickly that the community looks out for one another. Just in the crime reports, you can read how neighbors help each other for one thing or another. It's a close group with a tight neighborhood watch.
Lindsey Davidson (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 01:30 AM
M.P., thank you! I am very excited to be here! This is a tough situation, and I am just happy no one was physically injured. I can answer for you that I received the fire report directly from the fire chief. And I do believe with three agencies overseeing this investigation, both overlapping local and statewide, there will be little room for politics to get in the way. Like I said earlier, I know this community is fighting for this family and will help in any way possible.
OldTownie June 08, 2012 at 12:30 PM
This is a report of a fire written by a firefighter not a doctoral dissertation. Were you able to read the report and understand what the author intended to report? If so, the author's goal was achieved.
Sheba June 08, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Old Townie I am here to correct you. It was written by a Captain . A man in a position higher than a firefighter. I stand by my statement. Anything written should have a nice flow to it. this report did not have that. I also take it you probable know this Captain. I have only been in Winchester 15+ years and don't know many Townies.
OldTownie June 08, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Captain is his rank. Firefighter is what we trained him to do. We’ve got plenty of people in town that could make a report ‘flow’; unfortunately they were busy doing their own stuff at 5 am when the alarm sounded. All I care that he and other firefighters make ‘flow’ properly is the water coming out of their hoses. P.S. – if you’ve been in town for 15 years and haven’t met any townies I suggest you get out more often, we’re all over the place.
sheba June 08, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Old Townie I never questioned the ability of the firefighters.You said " firefighter is what we trained him to do". sounds like you have a connection with the fire department. I said" I don't no many townies" this is a case of hear what you want to hear. I will not comment to you again so you get the last word. did you hear that. P.S. Old Townie you should get out of Winchester sometime and see that there is a whole world out there and it does not revolve around Winchester.
VF June 14, 2012 at 02:45 AM
As an Retired WFD member , no fire report was ever released to the media. When you have a suspicous fire which includes possible harm to a family it is investigated by the State Fire Marshall and Local Police. The PAST Fire Chief's never released information on these matters. Report writing is important and this Captain has no clue on how to write a complete and accurate report. The Chief is trying to cover statements made to the media of " Human Action " caused the fire. In closing the Captain and Chief are both incompetent, the residents should go to the Selectmen and Town Manager and get thier resignations. Glad I moved to New Hampshire
rogerperd June 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Maybe if the schools didnt get all the money the fire department could afford a back up ladder.If the ladder truck needs to be serviced what are they supposed to do? This has nothing to do with their allocation of resources. Ladder trucks cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars they cant say lets not buy a few generators so we can keep the ladder on the floor.
rogerperd June 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
it happened in Boston a few years ago as well. M.P., if you ran the department and something on the ladder truck stopped working and the service time was out of your hands what would you do?
rogerperd June 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Backup fire apparatus Is called mutual aid, that means other towns close to us can use their ladder trucks to cover for us during emergencies. If you ever noticed that fire station across from walgreens in Woburn. That ladder truck is what covers for us and did this day.
M. P. June 27, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Finister, I disagree and think that this is callous commentary. When my wife had a medical emergency that eventually took her life, Officer Covino was the only first responder that showed us dignity and respect. He seemed to be a man of principles, and I can see how falling on the wrong side of his moral compass could compel you to write a nasty anonymous comment. Fast forward a decade later, and Officer Covino became a fantastic football coach to my grandsons. I could not ask for anything better, he raised their self esteem and taught them discipline in a team sport. I do not know his wife, but wealthy or not: no family deserves to have their home burned down, nor do they 'have it coming' (which I am to believe you insinuated). Must I remind you that children almost lost their lives?
sfd June 27, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Shame on you. The reason why "no one is willing to say this" is because they are not as ignorant and stupid as you are. If you think that for a second that this is an "inconvience" for the Covino's and not a heart renching, life changing situation, then I pity the family and friends in your life, if you have any. And just for the record, the Covino's work hard for everything they own, and give back to this community in more ways than one. You are not even worth responding too. most likely this isn't even your real name.
Moe June 04, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I wouldn't wish this upon anyone.
Moe June 04, 2013 at 03:21 PM
It's funny that the number one key question never got brought up though. Why would someone burn his house down? What is it about him? I know that he's a retired police officer, but lots of people retire and something like this never occurs. How was this guy different? That's the kind of stuff that should've been in this article. The man behind this tragedy. Is he good? Is he bad? I who people really have a motive to even do this? Does anyone out there know anything?


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