Fitchburg fire kills two; seven escape - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Fitchburg fire kills two; seven escape

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FITCHBURG, Mass. (WHDH) - A deadly fire claimed two lives in Fitchburg late Sunday night when flames erupted from an East Street home just before midnight.

An extended family lived in the house, seven people were able to get out safely but 22-year-old Christopher Brinkley and his 39-year-old aunt were trapped on the second floor and killed.

"My mom said she heard my brother yelling upstairs because they were trying to get to a window, but they think the smoke got to him before so he didn’t even make it to the window,” Justin Howard said.

“We did have heavy fire. We had to search the first floor as we went along. We got to the second floor, one of the individuals was removed with a ladder from the second floor window, always labor-intensive when you are doing that. The other individual was taken down the front stairs,” Chief Kevin Roy of the Fitchburg Fire Department said.

Neighbors said they heard the father who was inside screaming for his son still trapped on the second floor.

“We heard the father screaming, earlier, and we thought it was someone arguing, but when we looked out of the window we saw the fire in the front door. And that's when I tried to rush out. My father and I tried to rush out, we grabbed the fire extinguisher that we had nearby and rushed to help them out, get the kids out,” one neighbor said.

Neighbors tried to help with fire extinguishers, but they said the flames spread too quickly.

Two children, ages 6 and 11, were able to get out safely and neighbors were able to pull the children's mother out through a window.

A 65-year-old man was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

“It’s been a very sad and long morning,” neighbor Tammy Arguelles said.

According to the Fitchburg Fire Department, the house was destroyed. Weather conditions and clutter in the home contributed to the quick moving flames.

“Visibility was zero. A couple of our firefighters were lucky they got away without getting seriously injured trying to make entry into the building. Obviously when there are reports of people in a building you try to make entry any way you can,” Chief Roy said.

The Red Cross arrived at the scene early Monday morning to help the people effected by the fire.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but firefighters believed it started on the first floor.

The Fitchburg Dire Department along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office are all involved in the investigation.
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