EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 26, 2014

UPDATE: Fire victims believed to be couple in their 70s

METHUEN — Two people were killed when an early morning destroyed a home at 22 Buttonwood Drive.

The victims are believed to be a man and a woman in their 70s, police said. Their identities have not been confirmed.

Police Officer Neil Quinlan on patrol at 3 a.m. discovered the house fire.

His report said the garage and foyer connecting the garage and house were fully engulfed 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 point 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. One body had been removed from the home, with the second still inside as of 9:30 a.m., police said. A medical examiner was on the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by Methuen fire and police officials and state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, who was at the scene this morning.

Red Cross were assisting at the scene.

Buttonwood Drive runs between Jackson and Prospect streets near Holy Family Hospital and Methuen High School.

More as information becomes available at eagletribune.com.

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