Elderly Couple Killed Trying To Escape Methuen House Fire

METHUEN (CBS) – An elderly couple was killed in a fast-moving fire in their home in Methuen early Wednesday morning.

Flames broke out around 3 a.m. in the single-family house on Buttonwood Drive.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

Methuen Fatal Fire

A police officer spotted the fire and called for help.

A neighbor recorded a brief video of the fire after it started in this home on Buttonwood Drive Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

A neighbor recorded a brief video of the fire after it started in this home on Buttonwood Drive Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

Several homes in the neighborhood were evacuated as a precaution.

But when firefighters went inside they found 82-year-old James McDermott and his 79-year-old wife, Thelma, dead.

It appeared they were killed trying to escape.

“One of them was found just inside a bathroom window, and the other just inside the front entry door,” said Methuen Fire Chief Steven Buote.

The couple’s dog also died in the fire.

Neighbors say the McDermotts were long-time residents of Methuen and that James was a retired school teacher.

There’s no word yet on a cause of the fire.

Investigators say it appears to have started in the garage area.

They also say a preliminary investigation shows there were no signs of working smoke detectors in the home.

The couple was found dead in this home on Buttonwood Drive Wednesday morning. (WBZ-TV)

The couple was found dead in this home on Buttonwood Drive Wednesday morning. (WBZ-TV)

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said these are the ninth and tenth deaths in fires in Massachusetts so far this year.

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