Firefighters battle the fire that destroyed a Days Inn in Kittery on May 17. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has identified a man who perished in a fire that tore through the Days Inn in Kittery last month.

Daniel Clarke, 57, of Manassas, Virginia, died in the fire, Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said on Monday. The state Fire Marshal’s Office continues to investigate the cause of the blaze.

The fire ripped through the Days Inn on the Route 1 Bypass on May 17. It took hours and crews from 16 departments in Maine and New Hampshire to extinguish the blaze, and more than 24 hours for investigators to locate the victim.

Clarke’s body was recovered from the most badly burned section of the hotel, and it then took more than three weeks to establish his identity. Complicating the identification was the fact that no one contacted local authorities about a missing person. The hotel’s records were lost in the fire and the innkeeper had not kept a guest list as required, factors that investigators said made it difficult to determine if everyone staying there was accounted for.

Moss said that Clarke had been working in the Kittery area at the time of the fire, but had been let go from his job. He was staying at the hotel, but Moss said she did not know how long he had been living there.

The Medical Examiner’s Office identified Clark using DNA testing, a process she said is standard procedure in many cases.


“As you can imagine this is a process that can take some time,” Moss said. “This case continues to be an active investigation and when there is additional information to release we will do so.”

In his obituary, Clarke’s family said he spent most of his life in the Manassas area. They described him as an outstanding athlete during his youth. As an adult, he worked as a carpenter.

“We hope all who knew him choose to remember the kind, generous person that Danny was, always willing to lend a hand to anyone that needed it when he was able,” his family said.

A funeral mass for Clarke will be held Thursday at the All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to The Salvation Army.

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