Massachusetts widow sues alleged arson after deadly house fire

An elderly Massachusetts woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an alleged arsonist who she asserts is responsible for the death of her husband and son. The husband and son were killed in a house fire on Dec. 29, 2009. The 77-year-old widow escaped the fire along with another woman, who has since passed away.

The wrongful death lawsuit blames a 27-year-old Northampton man for the deaths. The man was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of starting more than a dozen fires in the area in homes, cars and other structures. He is awaiting trial on the charges including murder, arson and burglary.

In the lawsuit, the widow said she suffered severe emotional distress after witnessing her husband and adult son die in the fire that night. The husband was a World War II veteran and the son had a form of high-functioning autism, the lawsuit stated. The widow now lives in a new home where the burnt down home once stood.

The widow’s lawsuit alleges that the deaths of her husband and son were caused by the “malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct of [the 27-year-old Northampton man].” She asserts that her husband and son endured conscious pain and suffering as a result of his criminal actions.

An attorney representing the widow said the three-year statute of limitations was close to expiring, which is why the wrongful death lawsuit was filed while the criminal lawsuit is still pending. Oftentimes, plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits use the outcomes of relating criminal cases as evidence to prove their cases.

Source:, “Elaine Yeskie sues Anthony Baye in Northampton fires,” Dan Crowley, Oct. 19, 2012