You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Cause of fatal Methuen blaze still unknown

A firefighter moved through the scene of a blaze that killed an elderly couple in Methuen on Wednesday.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe staff

A firefighter moved through the scene of a blaze that killed an elderly couple in Methuen on Wednesday.

The cause of Wednesday morning’s fatal blaze on Buttonwood Drive in Methuen cannot be determined because of the extensive damage to the home, but the fire does not appear suspicious, authorities said today in a statement.

Two people, James and Thelma McDermott, 81 and 79, died in the fire, the Globe reported today.

Continue reading below

“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of these victims,” Methuen Fire Chief Steven Buote said in a statement. “A fatal fire is difficult not only for them but for the community as a whole.”

The home had no working smoke alarms, said the statement issued by Buote and other fire officials.

“Death by fire is an awful way to lose an elderly relative or friend,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. “I would encourage each of us to make sure our own parents, grandparents or older neighbors have working smoke alarms.”

Continue reading it below

The fire was reported by a police officer on patrol early Wednesday morning. The roof and first floor collapsed into the basement of the home. Because of the damage to the home it was difficult to identify a cause of the fire, which appeared to have started in the attached garage, the officials said.

Investigators believe the fire was accidental, and was likely caused by improper disposal of fireplace ashes, electrical failure, or a motor vehicle, officials said.

A dog also died in the fire and several cats are missing.

The fire was investigated by the Methuen Fire Department, the Methuen Police Department, and State Police assigned to both the fire marshal’s office and the Essex County district attorney’s office.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.