HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – An electrical fault in a third-floor apartment caused a fire in a Holyoke apartment building that killed three people on New Year’s Day, the state fire marshal says.
Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at a news conference at Holyoke fire headquarters. The fire marshal noted that electrical fires are among the leading causes of deadly fires across the state.
Maria Cartagena, Jorge Munos, and Trevor Wadleigh died in Sunday morning’s fire at 106 North East Street. All of them had been on the building’s fourth or fifth stories when the fire started. A total of 25 families were forced from their homes as flames consumed the upper floors of the building. Mayor Alex Morse said that new homes have been found for 24 out of those 25 families at this time.
A total of eight people were taken to the hospital following the fire, Holyoke Fire Chief John Pond said. As of Wednesday afternoon, only one woman remained hospitalized.
Pond said that there was a “substantial delay” between the time the fire was discovered until the first 911 call came in. He added that it is important for people to call 911 when they see a fire, even if a building does have an alarm system.
Pond added that there was not a fire sprinkler system in the building, which could have saved lives, though it was noted that the building in question was not required to have sprinklers.
Mayor Morse’s office has set up a relief fund to help the families affected by the fire. The goal is to raise $100,000 to meet their financial needs. So far, about $50,000 has been contributed.