WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Fire investigators have been able to determine where a deadly fire at a cluttered Westfield home began.
Ninety-two year-old Mary Woodworth and her 54 year-old daughter Theresa Woodworth were killed in the June 17 fire at 40 Park Street. On Thursday, State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Westfield Fire Chief Mary Regan announced that the fire was accidental, and started on a kitchen stovetop.
According to a news release sent to 22News by Jennifer Mieth, spokesperson for the state Department of Fire Services, there was a power strip on the stovetop, which was buried underneath a pile of possessions. It is believed that either the heat from the power strip, a failure of the power strip, or perhaps the stove’s gas pilot light, had ignited the fire.
Mieth says that clutter all over the house had prevented the victims from escaping the building, and it also made it difficult for firefighters to get inside the building. Further, there were no working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors inside the house to alert the residents of the danger early on.
“This was a sad end to two vibrant members of our community. There is safe and non-judgmental support for individuals and families struggling with clutter; please contact the senior center or board of health if you know someone who needs help,” Regan said.
Mieth says that last year, there were three people killed in fires in which hoarding prevented residents from escaping, or firefighters from rescuing them.
Click here for more information on resources available to people dealing with excessive clutter.
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