Air conditioner caused Ludlow fire that killed 3

Elderly couple and their adult son were killed in July 4 fire

LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Investigators say a fire that killed three people inside a Ludlow home Tuesday morning was an electrical fire that started in an air conditioner.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the fire marshal’s office, the fire at 68 Newbury Street began with the room-style A/C unit in the house’s living room. That air conditioning unit is on the opposite side of the house from the bedrooms.

The three victims of the fire were a 78 year-old woman, her 82 year-old husband, and their adult son, though their names are not being released at this time. The fire marshal’s office says that they are believed to have been residents of the house.

Ludlow Fire Chief Ryan Pease said that he and the department want to express their condolences to the victims.

“Firefighters responded and removed the victims quickly in an attempt to save them, but by the time the alarm came in, the house was already filled with toxic black smoke,” Pease said.

It is not clear whether the smoke detectors inside the house were working. According to the fire marshal’s release, the smoke detector outside the bedrooms was so badly damaged by the fire, they cannot tell whether or not it was functional. There was a battery inside it, but neither firefighters nor witnesses heard any smoke alarms sounding.

“In today’s homes, we have only about 1-3 minutes to escape before being overcome by the toxic smoke of burning furnishings made from plastics and synthetics. Working smoke alarms are your first line of defense in a fire and when coupled with an escape plan can double your chances of escaping. However, this fire may be one where only fire sprinklers could have made the difference between life and death,” Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said.

Neighbors remain shocked and saddened by what happened Tuesday morning.

“It’s just a tragedy. There is no other way to describe it. It’s just a sad situation. It happened on the Independence Day of the United States. We’re sorry. The whole community is behind you and if there is anything we can do to help, please feel free,” Fernando Barroso of Ludlow said.

Fire departments from surrounding towns were brought in to help put out the flames.

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