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Cause of R.I. fire that killed man and his 4-year-old son still unknown

Ed Lorenzen, 47, with his son, Michael. Both were killed in a Rhode Island fire on Friday.
Ed Lorenzen, 47, with his son, Michael. Both were killed in a Rhode Island fire on Friday.(Lorenzen family)

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused a devastating house fire in Coventry, R.I., that killed a 47-year-old man and his 4-year-old son on Friday.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Central Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown in a brief phone interview Monday, when asked about the cause of the blaze on Colonial Road at 6:40 p.m. Friday that killed 47-year-old Ed Lorenzen and his son Michael. The Rhode Island fire marshal’s office is also involved in the probe.

A family friend told the Globe over the weekend that Lorenzen was found with Michael in his arms, a final act of bravery from a father to a son.

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Lorenzen’s other two children — Zacheri, 12, and Penny, 2 — were able to escape the flames when Zacheri rescued his little sister.

“His heroic efforts likely saved her life,” police officials said Saturday in a statement.

Lorenzen lived in Silver Spring, Md., and worked in Washington, D.C., with the nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but he came to Rhode Island at least once a week to be close to his children, who lived with his former wife.

Lorenzen had worked as a legislative director to former US representative Charlie Stenholm of Texas, and then senior policy adviser for Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the former House majority leader.

An online fund-raiser for the family had raised more than $32,500 by Monday morning.


Globe correspondents J.D. Capelouto and John Hilliard contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.