Investigation under way in deadly fire

Investigation under way in deadly fire

Brett Quarterman, a 25-year-old engineer and Crozet resident, died March 20 of injuries sustained in a fire that broke out in the wee hours of March 18 at a residence at 2015 Lewis Mountain Rd. A second victim, Ashley Mauter, 24, was in fair condition at UVA Hospital with severe burns to her legs at press time.

Quarterman and girlfriend Mauter, neither of them tenants of the house, were asleep in a bedroom following a party when a fire began around 4am. A smoke detector in the attic of the house went off, alerting a tenant, Mark Allen, 24, to the blaze. Allen, a UVA grad, was briefly hospitalized and released.

Though all other occupants escaped, emergency respondents had to pull Quarterman and Mauter out through a window. Investigators found a fire detector in that part of the residence, but believe it was missing a battery, according to city spokesman Ric Barrick. They are examining the house’s electrical components but have ruled out foul play in the cause of the fire.

A fire that charred this house at 2015 Lewis Mountain Rd. on March 18 claimed the life of 25-year-old Brett Quarterman, remembered by a neighbor as handy and helpful.

The house is a rental unit converted into several apartments, owned by Joseph Kober. Kober owns numerous other city properties, including student residences. Officials found no code violations in their investigation of the house, says Barrick. He says it is the legal responsibility of the landlord to provide a smoke detector, but tenants are responsible for keeping it in good repair.

Lindsay Howerton, local business owner and Quarterman’s housemate in Crozet, remembers him as energetic and responsible, a man who went to his engineering job at Froehling & Robertson on Route 250 in Albemarle each morning with his lunch box in hand. A Virginia Tech grad, Quarterman was handy and helpful and was “a super-big football fan.”

Quarterman and Mauter, she says, “seemed to be pretty young and in love.”

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