The Uxbridge fire that claimed the lives of a mother and her young daughter Monday night began in the victims’ apartment, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Uxbridge Fire Chief William T. Kessler said Wednesday.
While officials have located the point of origin, the fire was so powerful and destroyed so much of the old farmhouse at 629 East Hartford Ave. that a specific cause could not be determined by investigators, the officials said in a joint statement.
“The fire damage to the old farmhouse was so extensive, so much of the building collapsed or was destroyed, that fire investigators were left with little evidence to reconstruct how the fire started and, sadly, no witnesses either,’’ Coan said in the statement.
He added: “While they are focusing on possible accidental causes such as electrical or smoking, there is not enough evidence left to pinpoint a single most probable cause. For that reason, the fire will be left officially undetermined at this time.”
Fire officials did not identify the victims, leaving that task to the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
A spokesman for Early said Wednesday that the names of the victims will be made public once the state medical examiner makes positive identifications.
Friends and neighbors have identified those killed as Suzanne Donovan, 45, and her daughter, a first-grader in the Worcester County town’s elementary school system. Nine people lived at 629 East Hartford Ave., and seven had been accounted for by early Tuesday.
Fire officials said smoke alarms in the building were working and alerted other residents, who escaped without injury.
Firefighters had difficulty getting water to the fire, which broke out around 10:30 p.m. Monday. It was unclear if that played a role in the fatalities. Several water tanker trucks were brought in, and firefighters from at least 14 surrounding communities helped battle the three-alarm blaze.
In the statement released Wednesday, Kessler offered his sympathies to Donovan and her family.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the family and friends of this mother and her young daughter,’’ Kessler said. “I want to offer condolences to them on behalf of the residents of Uxbridge, who are also grieving, as well as our first responders, who are also deeply impacted by this loss.”