The cause of the fire that broke out Friday at the former home of Ana Walshe, the Cohasset woman who has been missing since Jan. 1, has yet to be determined, according to authorities.
Firefighters responded around 2:15 p.m. Friday to a report of a fire at the home at 725 Jerusalem Road, which records show was previously owned by Ana Walshe and her husband, Brian Walshe, before they sold it last year. When crews arrived at the scene, they noticed smoke coming from the attic of the house and soon struck a second alarm, the Cohasset Fire Department said in a statement.
The four people inside the home, three adults and a young child, were able to safely escape before first responders arrived. Nobody was injured, according to the statement.
“The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time and remains under investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and Cohasset Police,” the fire department said in its statement.
The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds shows 39-year-old Ana Walshe sold the house to Joshua Bystcok and Alexandra Pavlova for $1.358 million on March 17, 2022. Police said it is too early to say whether the fire and the woman’s disappearance are connected, NBC Boston reported.
On Wednesday, Ana Walshe was reported missing simultaneously by both her husband and employer after last being seen at her home shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, New Year’s Day, according to the Cohasset Police Department. Authorities believe she is in danger.
“It’s not normal that she’s missing,” Cohasset Police Chief Quigley said at a press conference Friday morning.
Notably, police have said no evidence has been found yet that supports any illegal activity surrounding Ana Walshe’s disappearance. It is not abnormal for her to work long hours and not contact her family at home, which is why three days had passed before she was reported missing, according to Quigley.
Ana Walshe works as an executive at a security department based in Washington, D.C., where she has a second home. She was supposed to fly to the city in the early morning of Jan. 1 to handle an emergency on one of her properties. However, there was no record of her ever making it to Boston Logan International Airport for her flight, police said.
The husband of Ana Walshe, who was asleep when she left home, said his wife ordered a vehicle from a ride-share service to take her to Logan. She reportedly had her license, cell phone and other personal belongings with her when she left, according to authorities.
Ana Walshe had also previously scheduled a flight for Jan. 3, but there are no records of her boarding that one either, Quigley said.
Years earlier, Brian Walshe, 46, was in the news after he was arrested in connection with a scheme to sell fake copies of Warhol paintings on eBay, according to court records. In April 2021, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, possession of converted goods and unlawful monetary transaction.
Quigley noted at Friday’s press conference that Brian Walshe’s criminal history is “not believed to have any relation to this case.”
MassLive reporters Irene Rotondo and Tom Matthews contributed to this report.