A woman died in a 3-alarm house fire in Athol Thursday morning that may have started in the kitchen, according to the state fire marshal’s office.
The woman was not immediately identified.
In a statement, Athol Town Manager Shaun Suhoski said “she was a beloved member of the community and active in her church and neighborhood.”
“On behalf of the Athol Fire Department, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family,” fire chief Joseph Guarnera also said in the statement issued by the fire marshal’s office. “This is a very sad day for them and our community.”
A single-family home in the area of 92 Fern St. was fully involved, with heavy smoke and flames visible, when firefighters arrived at about 9:45 a.m., the statement said.
Second and third alarms were quickly sounded, drawing dozens of firefighters from surrounding communities in Central Massachusetts, including Orange Phillipston, Petersham, Barre, Oakham and Gardner, the statement said.
“About 40 firefighters battled the blaze for about an hour,” the statement said.
A preliminary investigation shows the fire may have started in the kitchen, Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Jon Davine said.
“The origin and cause of this fire remain under investigation, but preliminary evidence suggests that it started in the kitchen,” Davine said in the statement. “I want to remind everyone to stay safe in the kitchen. Don’t leave food cooking unattended, and in the event of a fire on the stovetop use a lid or baking sheet to smother the flames. If you can’t put it out quickly, then get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1.”
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