Fatal Fire in Lowell, Mass. Under Investigation
A tragic building fire in Lowell, Mass. has left seven people dead, including five members of one family. According to ABC News, as authorities piece together what happened, one focus will be reports that the building’s fire alarm never sounded.
About the Fatal Lowell Fire
Thursday’s fire was the deadliest Massachusetts fire in the past 20 years. A police patrol reported the fire at about 4 a.m., but there little that could be done to stop the blaze from engulfing the building by the time firefighters arrived. Seven people died in the fire.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said of the pending investigation, “I expect this to be a long and thorough process.” Witnesses have said that although the building had a fire alarm installed, no warning ever sounded. Authorities will also look at reports that one of the victims who died in the fire had illegally possessed fireworks in his apartment.
The owner of the building, Sanjay Patel, purchased the building in 2007. The building’s bottom floor housed a liquor store while the upper floors were apartment units. Patel experienced his sympathy for those affected by the fire. He also noted his ongoing cooperation with authorities and that the building had passed every inspection since he acquired it.
Victims of the blaze included Torn Sak and his girlfriend Ellen Vuong as well as three of the couple’s five children: a 7-year-old, a 9-year-old, and a 12-year-old. The identities of the remaining two victims have not been released.
Residential Building Fire Statistics
The U.S. Fire Administration provides the following statistics about residential building fires:
- In 2011 there were a total of 364,500 fires which resulted in 2,450 fatalities, 13,900 injuries, and $6.6 billion in economic damages.
- Trends showed that between 2007 and 2011, there was a 7 percent decrease in fires, an 11 percent decrease in deaths, and a 3 percent decrease in injuries.