4 Found Dead After Connecticut House Fire

Four people were found dead after fire destroyed a duplex on South River Street in Enfield, Connecticut, Wednesday morning, according to the fire department.

Friends and family of the four people who died in an early morning house fire in Enfield have identified the victims as a grandmother, mom, grandson and close family friend.

Although police have not released the names or ages of those who were killed, Bill Stone identifies himself as a family member and said the victims were well known around town.

According to Stone, 59-year-old grandmother Orise Handfield and her adopted daughter, Cathy Armes, 36, are among the four who died when flames broke out at 38 South River Street and the second floor collapsed.

“She always took care of all of them. She tried her hardest and her best. She was a woman who didn’t have a lot, but if she did, she would give it to you. So they will be missed,” Stone said, of Handfield.

Armes’ son, 20-year-old Joshua Johnson, also died in the fire, according to Stone, who said Johnson was expecting a child in a few months. The child’s mother was not home at the time of the fire, according to Stone.

“His fiancée, his girlfriend, she assumes he’s dead,” Stone said.

Neighbors have identified the fourth victim has been identified as a friend of the family.

Friends and family members said Johnson’s brother, Richie Handfield, is being treated for burns. Three other people, including Orise's other daughter Lori, made it out safely and ran to a neighbor's house.

A close friend said the family had recently moved from a home on Spring Street in Enfield, where they lived for more than 15 years.

Officials have not released any information on the cause of the flames, but neighbors said a small Christmas tree fire broke out yesterday and suspect it may have also caused the blaze today.

Contact Us