WARWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – A wood stove was the cause of a fire that killed a woman and four children in the eastern Franklin County town of Warwick this past weekend. According to a news release sent to 22News by the state fire marshal’s office, the wood stove had ignited combustible materials inside the kitchen, and the fire then spread through the whole house.
Lucinda Seago and four of her children, aged seven, nine, 12, and 15, died in the fire. Her husband and another child were able to make it out of the home safely. The home was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters first got there.
“This is a small community of neighbors helping neighbors and our hearts are heavy with the loss the Seago family has suffered,” Warwick Fire Chief Ronald Gates said.
The fire was particularly difficult to fight in part due to the location of the house. The property at 405 Richmond Road is on a narrow dirt roadway. It was too narrow for fire trucks to pass each other, and there are no hydrants in the area. Water had to be shuttled in from a pond about a third of a mile away, and the pumper trucks then had to go through a one-way loop that took them into New Hampshire before they could return to the house.
The frigid temperatures complicated matters, with equipment freezing-up on firefighters.
The fire marshal’s news release urges homeowners to always have their furnaces and chimneys cleaned annually, and to make sure anything combustible, such as newspapers and firewood, are kept at least three feet away from a wood stove.
“Last weekend seven people died in two heating related fires. It will be cold again this weekend and I urge everyone to keep safety in mind while trying to keep warm,” State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said.
Firefighters from several towns in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont helped in the firefighting effort.