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Wu says some accounts of South Boston home ‘not based on facts of what happened there’

Firefighters from Ladder 18, Boston EMS, and police rushed to the McCormack complex in South Boston June 17 after a caller reported a person "was not breathing.”John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Friday sharply disputed allegations in some media reports about the conditions inside a South Boston apartment where first responders tried to save a person’s life last weekend.

Wu told reporters she has viewed photographs taken by Boston police detectives of an apartment in the Mary Ellen McCormack housing complex on June 17. She said she has also spoken with officials at the three agencies that responded to the unit at 381 Old Colony Ave., including Boston fire, emergency medical services, and police.

Reports prepared by first responders who were at the scene where a woman died are reliable, Wu said, while other accounts are not.


“I’ve seen the photos of the scene as part of the death investigation,” she told reporters Friday at a public appearance in Dorchester. “And it’s irresponsible to be fueling conspiracy theories at this moment when we are grieving a loss of life.”

According to a police report, firefighters from Ladder 18, Boston EMS, and police rushed to the McCormack complex after a caller reported a person “was not breathing.” Lifesaving efforts were launched, but the 28-year-old woman was pronounced dead.

The Department of Children and Families said that the department took custody of the children who were in the apartment on June 17. DCF however will not say what prompted the agency to intervene.

“We will do whatever it takes to protect our children in the city. But that also means not fueling conspiracy theories or rumors that are not based on the facts of what happened there,” Wu said. “I think this is an important reminder that it’s important to have a grounding in the facts of what occurred and to let the proper authorities do their investigation.”

In an interview Wednesday, Governor Maura Healey described what first responders discovered inside the apartment as “a terrible situation.”


On Thursday, Boston police, in an rare response to news accounts and postings on social media, defended the actions of the parents and the officers who were in the apartment.

“The parents and the officers who responded felt it was best for the children to stay in another room with one of the parents and took steps to avoid having the children see the deceased,” police wrote in a posting on on Thursday.

Police also said they filed a 51A report of possible abuse or neglect with DCF “due to the nature of the call, and to ensure appropriate follow up with the families involved. ... Information that drugs and other concerning materials were strewn about the home is not supported by what officers encountered or by the information received on scene.”

Boston City Councilor at Large Michael Flaherty told the Globe on Thursday that firefighters who responded were appalled by the conditions inside the apartment and that they were deeply concerned about the health and safety of the children.

“They walk in and they see somewhat of an unsanitary and unsafe situation is how they described it,’’ he said. “In general, it wasn’t good.”

Responding to Wu’s comments on Friday, Flaherty said, “If Boston police or anyone is relying on the responding police officers’ report and body cam they are missing all of what happened.”

Officials said that a police investigation into the death is ongoing and that the state medical examiner’s office is in the process of conducting an autopsy. The deceased person’s name has not been released.


John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him @JREbosglobe.