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Woman, 88, identified as victim in fatal fire at Arlington senior development

An 88-year-old woman was killed in a fire at Chestnut Manor Senior Housing development in Arlington early Saturday morning.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Authorities on Monday identified an 88-year-old woman who died in a fire sparked by an electric baseboard heater at an Arlington apartment building early Saturday morning as Bridget Doyle.

Doyle, one of two women injured in the fire, was later pronounced dead at an area hospital, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office said Monday in a joint statement with Arlington Fire Chief Kevin Kelley, Arlington Police Chief Juliann Flaherty, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

Doyle was unresponsive when Arlington firefighters found her inside her apartment, which was next to the unit where the blaze broke out about 4 a.m. at Chestnut Manor, a senior housing development at 54 Medford St., officials said.

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Another woman was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Kelley said Saturday.

The fire started in a third-floor apartment inside the seven-story building, where an electric baseboard heater “either malfunctioned or was in close proximity to combustible items,” officials said in the statement Monday.

The fire displaced 16 people, and the town’s Department of Health and Human Services has created a donation fund to help residents who were affected, officials said.

The building’s smoke alarms and fire sprinklers were working properly and helped contain the blaze as firefighters worked to put it out, Kelley said in a statement Saturday.

“On behalf of the Arlington Fire Department, I want to express our deepest condolences to the victim’s loved ones,” Kelley said. “Her loss is a tragedy for the family and the community. Fortunately, smoke alarms and fire sprinklers in the building operated properly, alerting residents and containing the fire until our firefighters arrived to extinguish it. Without smoke alarms and sprinklers, this morning’s tragedy could have been even worse.”

Ostroskey warned residents to be careful with flammable objects placed near heating systems.

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“Home heating is the second-leading cause of residential fires, and historically they are most common in January,” Ostroskey said in a statement Saturday. “It’s important to keep curtains, bedding, clothing, and other items that can burn at least three feet away from a heat source.”


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.