ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) – One person was killed in a house fire on Fern Street in Athol last Thursday.

Athol Fire Chief Joseph Guamera and the Department of Fire Services say the fire started from the stove and is not considered suspicious. The fire caused extensive damage to the home, causing the second floor to collapse. An investigation after the fire found one of the stove knobs slightly turned on. The fire was found to be accidental.

The person who died in the fire has been identified as 62-year-old Jacqueline Doherty. Town Manager Shaun Suhoski described Doherty as a beloved town member and was active in her church and community. Another person was taken to the hospital for their injuries in the fire and is still recovering.

“I again want to express our sympathies to Ms. Doherty’s family and loved ones,” said Chief Guarnera. “About 80% of residential fires in Massachusetts start with cooking equipment. Many of these fires can be prevented by using extra caution in the kitchen, but don’t put yourself at risk if a fire does break out – get out, stay out, and call 9-1-1.”

On Thursday around 9:45 a.m., Athol firefighters were called to the home for the fire. When crews arrived, the home was already on fire on the first and second floors with heavy smoke. More than 40 firefighters from several fire departments assisted in putting out the fire.

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