Concord man killed in kitchen fire identified

  • A Concord Fire Department seal is seen on the door of a department vehicle during National Night Out at Rollins Park on Tuesday evening, August 1, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ

Monitor staff
Friday, January 05, 2018

Authorities have identified an elderly man who died in a kitchen fire at his Concord home last month.

Leonard "Len" Braunstein, 86, died of smoke inhalation during the Dec. 4 fire at 7 Trinity St., where he lived with his wife of 49 years, Maria, according to the New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s Office.

The kitchen fire is considered accidental, state Fire Investigator Christopher Wyman said Friday. Wyman noted that the fire was contained to the kitchen area of the single-family home and started on a gas stovetop, where food was cooking.

“The fire was reported when a family member came home and discovered it,” he said, adding that Braunstein was the only person home at the time of the fire. 

Firefighters responded to the call at about 10:30 a.m., and found the home’s interior filled with smoke although no active blaze. Braunstein had been home alone for about an hour and a half; it’s unclear exactly when the fire started during that window of time, Wyman said. The home did have working smoke alarms.

The state medical examiner performed an autopsy that same day and concluded that Braunstein’s death was accidental.

Wyman said it’s important for people to be careful when using any cooking appliance and to not leave them unattended when in use. In case of a fire, he said, people should have working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in their homes.

Braunstein, who was born in Florida, earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of New Hampshire, and did post-graduate work in Illinois, according to his obituary. He worked as a clinical psychologist out west, before moving to Boston and then Concord. He operated a private practice in New Hampshire’s capital city for 15 years.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)