Elderly Woman, 2 Dogs Die in Oxford, Massachusetts Fire

Fire officials say heavy fire and hoarding conditions hindered their search for the woman

Neighbors are in disbelief after an elderly woman died in a house fire in Oxford, Massachusetts.

The state Fire Marshal's office said Friday that the body of an adult was recovered from the home.

According to a neighbor, the victim lived in the home and two dogs were also killed in the fire.

The massive fire was reported shortly before 8 p.m. by a woman who arrived at the Sacarrappa Road home where she lives to find it ablaze. Her mother, who also lives at the home, could not be accounted for.

"I could see the flames coming out of the house, and the smoke," recalled neighbor Ginette Bailey.

There are no fire hydrants on the street, so fire trucks had to repeatedly bring water to the scene. An old bridge on Sacarrappa Road has been closed for two years.

When fire crews arrived, Oxford fire officials said they tried to find the missing woman, however, heavy fire and hoarding conditions hindered their search for several hours. Fire officials said the house was packed with furniture and other items, and there were three feet of debris on the floor.

"We did a primary search real quick. Nothing was found at that point. Everybody had to be pulled out of the building," interim Oxford Fire Chief Paul Ford said. "It had gone through the roof and was structurally unsound."

The victim's name has not been released.

Neighbor Santiago Garcia said the woman's daughter is struggling to deal with her loss.

"She's in shock, yesterday she was in complete and utter shock," Garcia said. "It was surreal for her, obviously, to have lost her home overnight like that."

"She came home and thought it was a smaller fire than it was," she added. "She didn't even have her phone on her. So it must be pretty traumatic."

The cause of the fatal fire remains under investigation but officials said they don't believe it to be suspicious.

Two firefighters were also injured battling the blaze and taken to local hospitals, but their injuries are not considered to be serious.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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