A massive Tuesday morning fire that claimed the lives of two young brothers on Kingston Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts, has been ruled accidental.
State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says electrical wiring that was likely from the 1930’s sparked the fatal fire in a first floor apartment.
“The fire occurred in a void space between a drop ceiling and the original ceiling in this building in that first floor unit," said Coan. "The fire burned undetected for a considerable period of time.”
Coan says once the fire broke through to the outside, it rapidly traveled both up the back and across the building, essentially trapping the four-year-old and 10-year-old brothers inside their third floor bedroom.
“The exit out of that bedroom was to the rear of the building," said Coan. "So by the time the fire had occurred to the point of notification to the residents, those youngsters needed to come out of the bedroom to where they would face a wall of flame.”
Lawrence Fire Chief John Marsh says the first responding officers were only a block away, but even they couldn’t reach the boys.
“One firefighter was burned in the face, the other has broken his foot in an attempt to kick in the doorways,” Chief Marsh said.
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A resident on the first floor said the boys’ mother was crying hysterically outside while the boys’ father begged to go back inside.
“The guy was trying to go back, trying to grab the kids. The cops wouldn’t let him in,” Fernando explained.
Parent Adans Cuto says his son went to school with the older brother, who was in fourth grade at the Weatherbee School down the street.
“When there are children involved it’s very hard you know, we being so sad today, it’s terrible you know,” Cuto said.
Officials have not officially confirmed the identities of the two boys who died in the fire.
The Lawrence Mayor's office has set up an emergency fund for all victims of this fire. You can send donations to: "Lawrence Emergency Fund" Mayor's Office, City Hall, 200 Common Street, Lawrence, MA 01841