LOWELL (CBS/AP) – As Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is pledging to conduct what she expects to be a “long and thorough review” into a fire in Lowell that claimed seven lives, a relative of five of the victims is telling WBZ that there were a large number of fireworks inside one of the apartments.
Witnesses described hearing explosions during the pre-dawn blaze in an apartment building Thursday took the lives of four adults and three children.
Nine others were hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening.
Torn Sak, one of the victims identified by a family member, had a recent photo posted on his Facebook page showing a large stack of fireworks that he said was for his daughter’s birthday party.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said investigators have heard fireworks may have been stored in the building. He said they will be looking for evidence of the presence of fireworks as part of the search for the origin of the fire.
Coan said the investigation will also include looking into the history of building permits and work on the building, and a “very, very strong look” at the fire alarm system in the building.
“There is clearly conflicting information that is worthy of a very detailed review as to whether the fire alarms were operating at the time of the fire,” Coan said.
Sources told WBZ-TV’s I-Team that when first responders arrived at the fire scene they did not hear any alarms. The building’s alarm system is a hard-wired system that covers the entire building rather than individual battery-powered units.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports