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Worcester couple married more than 30 years dies in house fire

Husband and wife die in Worcester fire
Husband and wife die in Worcester fire 02:39

WORCESTER – A couple who lived together in Worcester for more than 20 years died in tragic house fire late Tuesday night.

Juana Candelario, 59, and her husband of more than 30 years, 62-year old-Daniel Gonzalez, were trapped on the first floor of the triple decker on Hancock Street, relatives told WBZ-TV.

"A really complex situation"

The multi-family home was fully engulfed in flames and there were reports of people trapped inside when firefighters arrived just after 11:30 p.m. As they desperately searched the first floor, they found the couple and got them out. Candelario and Gonzalez were rushed to the hospital where they died.

"When you have the reports of people trapped, simultaneously trying to do rescues and fire suppression, it's a really complex situation to try and handle," said Assistant Fire Chief Adam Roche.

"All I see is people rushing out, and then roaring fire, busting out on the side of the building," said neighbor Alexis Kostas.

Worcester fire victims
Daniel Gonzalez and Juana Cadelario Family photo

Roche says the fire began in the living room on the first floor. Twelve residents on the second and third floors, some of whom were children and grandchildren of the victims, were able to make it out. 

Hours after the fire, they consoled each other outside the house.

"It was very difficult. I couldn't sleep," Neighbor Ksenia List told WBZ. "It was very difficult because we don't really know the cause of it."

2 firefighters hurt

Two firefighters had to be hospitalized for exhaustion, the Assistant Fire Chief calling their efforts nothing short of heroic.

"Our firefighters did a valiant job, they really leaned back on their strategies and tactics to try and get to a better outcome here," Roche told reporters.

But sadly, not everyone could be rescued, including a dog and three cats.

"There's a lot of families in there and that's pretty sad, because it's very unfortunate to know that two people passed away," said Kostas.

The cause of the fire is under investigation as well as whether there were working smoke detectors. Roche said the fire was out in 15 minutes, but firefighters are heartbroken they couldn't make it far enough into the first floor. 

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