SOMERVILLE (CBS) – A mother and son were killed in a fast moving fire in Somerville, trapped when flames ripped through their second floor apartment.
Eighty-year-old Dorena Correia and her 47-year-old son Louis were found unconscious by firefighters, who raced to the second floor with reports of victims trapped inside.
Dorena Correia was found on the floor toward the front, her son near a back staircase.
“They were unable to make the phone call themselves. The 911 call came from neighbors,” said fire chief Kevin Kelleher. “When we took them out they were both unconscious, and we were still performing CPR on one of the victims,” he said.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.
Correia’s daughter, Jennifer Lewis, said the family has lived in the house for 42 years, another daughter and grandson lived in the first floor unit but were able to escape the intense flames.
“The whole front porch was engulfed in flames, with big huge black clouds of smoke,” said neighbor Lou D’Agosta.
Lewis says the victims may have been sleeping at the time the fire broke out.
“I wonder if they were trying to get out of the house, if they were sleeping, did they suffer,” she said.
Amid the rescue effort, the challenge for firefighters was tackling the blaze on Fairfax Street where there are mounting snow banks, making hydrants difficult to see, and can cost precious seconds.
Fire chief Kelleher says the hydrants that were shoveled out by residents were difficult to see behind the snow banks, and at least one of the hydrants they needed was frozen.
He says the devastating fire is a reminder to keep hydrants cleaned out during the winter months so firefighters can always establish a permanent water supply.
Neighbor Lou D’Agosta remembers Louis Correia as someone he would see constantly in the neighborhood.
“He and I would sit outside and talk, he calls me all the time. It’s tough,” he said.
Jennifer Lewis says her mother had “a heart of gold” and was her best friend who will be deeply missed. She says neither of the victims were smokers, but believes her brother had a space heater in his bedroom.
Fire investigators have not yet determined the cause of the blaze.