HAVERHILL (CBS) – An elderly woman was killed and two of her relatives were seriously hurt in an explosion and fire at a home in Haverhill early Wednesday morning.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karen Twomey reports
Firefighters were called to the triple decker on Washington Street around 12:30 a.m.after neighbors reported hearing an explosion on the first floor.
Neighbors told WBZ-TV an elderly woman on oxygen lived on that floor and was killed in the blast.
She lived with two 50-year-old relatives, a man and a woman. One was taken away in an ambulance, the other airlifted to a Boston hospital.
Their names have not been released.
Five others escaped, including two toddlers and their parents who were living on the top floor. A woman on the second floor also managed to get out safely.
There's no official word yet on a cause of the explosion.
The Haverhill Fire Department referred all calls to the district attorney's office, because it involved a death.
But at least one firefighter said more could have been done to save the victim.
The fire department is in contract talks with Mayor James Fiorentini, who has reduced the force, including on the rescue truck charged with the search and evacuation at this fire.
There are usually three firefighters on board but it only had one Wednesday morning, which means he had to wait for back-up before entering the burning home.
Firefighter Todd Guertin is quoted in the Eagle-Tribune as saying:
"The mayor should be charged with murder for taking the rescue truck out of service over a dispute with the union."
WBZ-TV spoke to Guertin on the phone Wednesday morning and he seemed to back away from that statement, saying he was misquoted.
But he did stick by his comments that the mayor essentially rendered that rescue truck useless by reducing its staff to one.
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