EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Breaking news

February 26, 2014

NEW UPDATE: No smoke detectors at house where couple died?

METHUEN — Fire officials say the house where an elderly couple died in an early morning fire likely had no working smoke detectors.

The fire broke out shortly before 3 a.m. at 22 Buttonwood Drive. When firefighters arrived, the home was engulfed in flames, and by the time firefighters were able to get inside, the the couple was already dead, officials said.

The body of a man was found just inside the front door and that of a woman was found in a rear bathroom, officials said. One victim was 82, and the other 79.

Fire Chief Steven Buote said the couple was apparently awakened by the fire, but by then the house was filled with so much smoke they had trouble seeing, became disoriented and were separated.

"My guess is there were not any smoke detectors," Buote said. "There were certainly not enough of them in working condition."

Police Officer Neil Quinlan was on patrol in the Jackson Street area about 3 a.m. when he saw a glow in the sky that led him to the fire on Buttonwood Drive.

His report said the garage and foyer connecting it to the house were in flames when he arrived. His report said a dispatcher told him two elderly people lived there and he attempted to approach the home to alert them.

However, as he got closer he could see heavy, black smoke billowing from all points of the house and could hear small explosions in the garage, "making it unsafe to proceed any further."

The police report said Quinlan and another officer began evacuating nearby homes because burning embers filled the sky and trees were catching fire.

Two bodies were soon found inside the home. A dog was also found dead inside.

Buote said the man and woman were the 10th and 11th fire victims in Massachusetts since Jan. 1. Their names were not being released this morning.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
Breaking news

NDN Video
Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape Texas Gov. Perry: Indictment 'a Political Act' US Officials: Video Shows American's Beheading Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners
Photos of the Week