ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) – One person has died following a fire at a single-family home in Athol Thursday morning.
At approximately 9:45 a.m., Athol fire crews received report of a fire at 92 Fern Street, upon arrival, firefighters encountered a fully involved two-story residence engulfed in dense smoke and flames. The intensity of the situation required crews to raise the alarm level to a third-alarm, prompting assistance from neighboring fire departments.
Approximately 40 firefighters worked tirelessly for an hour to combat the flames. Multiple nearby fire departments, including Orange, Phillipston, Petersham, Barre, Oakham, Gardner, Westminster, Winchendon, and Fitchburg, extended mutual aid during the incident. The Templeton and Fitchburg fire departments offered station coverage during the emergency.
Chief Guarnera expressed his condolences on behalf of the Athol Fire Department to the victim’s family, “On behalf of the Athol Fire Department, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family. This is a very sad day for them and our community.”
The identity of the victim remains undisclosed pending formal identification by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, yet the victim is described as a cherished community member actively involved in church and neighborhood activities, as conveyed by Town Manager Shaun Suhoski.
“The origin and cause of this fire remain under investigation, but preliminary evidence suggests that it started in the kitchen,” said State Fire Marshal Davine. “I want to remind everyone to stay safe in the kitchen. Don’t leave food cooking unattended, and in the event of a fire on the stovetop use a lid or cookie sheet to smother the flames. If you can’t put it out quickly, then get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1.”
Investigations into the fire are currently underway and being conducted by the Athol Fire Department, Athol Police, State Police from the offices of the State Fire Marshal and Worcester County District Attorney, and District 8 fire investigators.
WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.