• Fatal condo fire ruled accidental, injured boy still in hospital


    CHELMSFORD (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) Fire officials have deemed a fatal fire in Chelmsford accidental.

    State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Chelmsford Fire Chief Michael Curran announced the results of their investigation into the Jan. 5 fire at the Woodcrest Condominiums on Thursday.

    Officials say the fire was likely caused by an extension cord beneath a fold-out couch inside the apartment of 67-year-old Susan Astle and 77-year-old Paul Deslauriers. Both Astle and Deslauriers died in the fire.

    A 7-year-old boy sustained serious burns in the fire. He continues to receive treatment at a Boston hospital.

    The fire destroyed 21 apartments and displaced 31 people.

    In a press release on Thursday, Coan pointed out that four Mass. residents lost their lives in three separate fires on the same weekend as the fire in Chelmsford. He says these deaths show the importance of sprinkler systems.

    "These tragedies underscore the value of fire sprinklers which could have altered the outcome of each one," says Coan. "No one thinks fire will happen to them, but practicing good fire prevention is key to reducing the chance it might."

    Officials say the condominium was not required to have a sprinkler system when it was built, but it would be required to have one if it were built in the present day.

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