NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — One person is dead after a fire broke out in a New Bedford apartment building Monday morning, according to Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
Firefighters rushed to Hemlock Street just before 5 a.m. after receiving reports of heavy fire coming from the second floor of the triple-decker, Ostroskey said.
Once inside the apartment building, Ostroskey said firefighters found 65-year-old Daniel Dupont on the second floor. Dupont was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Another resident was transported to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Ostroskey said she is expected to recover.
Ostroskey said firefighters encountered “heavy clutter” in Dupont’s apartment, which hindered their rescue efforts.
“Excessive clutter can present a fire hazard and in some cases may be a sign that a friend or loved one is struggling with other issues,” Ostroskey said. “There is safe and non-judgmental support for individuals and families struggling with clutter.”
Ostroskey urged anyone who has a loved one who’s struggling with hoarding or excess clutter to call 800-243-4636 (800-AGE-INFO).
Investigators couldn’t determine the cause of the fire, though it appears to be accidental, Ostroskey said.
Ostroskey said the apartment building, which sustained significant smoke and fire damage, has been deemed uninhabitable. The five families that lived in the building are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Joe Davres, who lived on the first floor of the apartment building, said he woke up his family in a panic soon after fire alarms started going off.
“I woke up to the alarm,” he said. “I tried to shut it off, but then I smelled smoke.”
Once his wife and two children had escaped safely, Davres said he turned around and went back inside to try and help the other residents.
“I ran to the second floor to see what was going on, because everybody was screaming,” Davres said. “When I kicked in the door, the door never opened, but I broke the door and the flames came.”
Davres said he rushed back out of the building after realizing he couldn’t get inside Dupont’s apartment.
“[It was] very scary,” Davres said. “I would not wish this on anybody.”