DA: 2nd Woman Involved in Crash That Sparked Massive Fall River Fire Dies

A gas line was ruptured after a vehicle slammed into the Four Winds Apartment building on Tuesday morning

What to Know

  • A deadly car crash sparked a massive fire at a Fall River, Massachusetts apartment building on Tuesday that displaced about 80 people.
  • The 72-year-old driver of the vehicle died at the scene after her car crashed into the building; her passenger died on Wednesday.
  • Firefighters continued to battle hot spots overnight at the scene and the building is being torn down on Wednesday.

A second woman who was in the car that crashed into a Massachusetts apartment complex building on Tuesday has died from her injuries, according to the Bristol district attorney's office.

The 75-year-old woman, identified as Linda Leahey of Fall River, died at Rhode Island Hospital on Wednesday, where she had been previously listed in critical condition.

Authorities say Leahey was a passenger in the 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix that was being driven by 72-year-old Judith Mauretti, who died at the scene of the fiery crash. 

A family member told NBC10 Boston the two women were sisters.

Meanwhile, demolition is underway Wednesday to tear down the Fall River apartment complex building as crews continue to battle a massive fire that started Tuesday morning.

Fall River Fire Chief John D. Lynch said six firefighters who were treated for exhaustion and smoke inhalation are expected to be OK, and that his department's main concern now is "to make sure no one else is hurt at the scene." He said firefighters could still be on the scene for another 24 hours to douse hot spots.

"The only way we're going to be able to put this out is to start to tear it out," Lynch said. "We can't allow anybody in there, so we're basically going to rip this building down."

Eighty people have been displaced as a result of the 6-alarm blaze on North Main Street, which was sparked by a ruptured gas line after Mauretti crashed into the apartment building just before 9:40 a.m.

Residents of the Four Winds Apartments were able to escape the inferno safely, but not without difficulty. Seven pets were also rescued.

"We tried to get out the front but the smoke was so heavy at the time and it happened so quick so we went out the back," Jack Steele said.

"Everything we own is in there," resident Nono Nunes said. "The worst part of it is we aren't going to get anything back."

"My granddaughter Zoe there, she just wants to go back in her home in her bed and get her toys," resident Debra Degroot said. "That's what bothers me."

Witnesses say Mauretti was speeding when her car jumped the curb and slammed into the apartment building.

Approximately 100 firefighters responded to the massive blaze. Hours after officials said the initial fire had been doused, the blaze flared up again on Tuesday night.

The investigation into the fatal car crash and ensuing inferno continues.

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