OXFORD (CBS) – A wood stove caused a fatal Oxford fire that killed a 93-year-old woman last month, authorities said.
The Dec. 14 house fire on Sacarappa Road killed Josephine Mulvey and two pets and sent two firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries.
The fire started at the wood stove in Mulvey’s living room at 7:45 p.m. The single-family home was totally destroyed.
Firefighters were met with several challenges in fighting the blaze, including the lack of fire hydrants, frigid temperatures and hoarding conditions inside the home that was located in a rural area.
Firefighters from 10 communities had to use a tanker shuttle to provide water to put out the fire on a bitterly cold night.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey is warning area residents to use caution when using a wood stove or fireplace to keep warm.
“We want everyone to keep warm and keep safe this winter,” Ostroskey said. “If you’re heating with wood, have chimneys cleaned regularly and inspected for cracked and broken mortar. Keep combustibles three feet away from the stove, and dispose of ashes in a metal can with a lid.”
Mulvey’s death is the latest to have been caused by a fire originating from a wood stove.
In March 2017, five family members died in a wood stove fire in Warwick, R.I.
And in 2016, there were 565 fire incidents involving chimneys, fireplaces, and wood stoves throughout Massachusetts. These fires were responsible for three civilian injuries, five firefighter injuries, and resulted in $2.3 million in property losses.