UPDATED: Elderly Couple Perishes In Woodcrest Condo Fire
Fire destroys 21-unit building in Littleton Road condo development.
An elderly couple has died and four of their family members were injured in a two-alarm fire that gutted a building in the Woodcrest Condo development at 181 Littleton Road.
The blaze broke out around 11:30 p.m. Saturday and took firefighters from multiple communities more than two hours to get under control.
In a press conference Sunday morning, Fire Chief Michael Curran and State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan confirmed the deaths, though the identity of the victims has not yet been released.
"I believe they were both in their 70's," said Currant. "This is a sad day to start the year off, it really is."
Two children and two adults were also injured in the fire. Curran confirmed that the four were the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren of the deceased couple.
"They had come to pay a visit," said Coan. "And our understanding is they had just arrived yesterday and this would have been their first night."
According to Curran, one of the children, a seven-year-old boy, was taken by Med-Flight to a Boston hospital with severe burns on his hands and other parts of his body. He is expected to survive. The other three family members were taken by ambulance to area hospitals, with burns and smoke inhalation.
The fire is being investigated jointly by members of the Chelmsford Police/Fire investigation unit, State Troopers assigned to the State Fire Marshal's Office and State Troopers Assigned to the Office of the Middlesex County District Attorney.
Coan said a preliminary investigation indicates the blaze began in the condo unit of the deceased couple, which was located on the top floor, back corner of the four-story structure. He declined to speculate as to the specific cause.
"There is nothing at this time that leads us to believe this was a suspicious fire," said Coan. "At this time we are examining several accidental scenarios and investigating fully."
According to Curran, the first firefighters on the scene found residents trapped on balconies on the top floor. Firefighters rescued four people off a balcony on one side of the building and two more from the other side. Firefighters led additional residents to safety down the stairs.
"I, too, would like to commend the Chelmsford firefighters, who arrived very quickly on the scene and the tremendous rescue effort that took place here," said Coan. "It's very clear that if not for their efforts, we would be standing in front of a building that would have had many more occupants perish in the fire."
"It was a long, hard night for the Chelmsford Fire Department and a very tragic outcome to a very fast-moving fire," he added.
Building No. 4 had 21 total condo units, leaving dozens of people were displaced by the fire.
Some of the residents in the first floor units were allowed to retrieve personal belongings after the fire had been extinguished, Sunday morning. But many of units were either totally destroyed or were too hazardous for anyone to enter.