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Elderly Adams Woman Dies In Fire Started By Candle


An elderly Adams, Mass. woman has died from injuries suffered during a fire started by a candle at her home on Wednesday, according to a press release from the office of Massachusetts Fire Marshall Stephen Coan. 88-year-old Eunice St. Hilaire lived alone at 5 West St.

According to the release, remnants of a candle were found near a nightstand in St. Hilaire’s first-floor bedroom. Investigators ruled out other possible causes. The Adams Fire Department was notified by a life alert system that was connected to a smoke alarm.

“On behalf of the citizens of Adams and the members of the fire department, I offer my deepest condolences to the family,” Adams Fire Chief Paul Goyette said in a statement. “Fire is a terrible way to lose a loved one.”

“We had to dig out the nearest hydrant but had sufficient water from the engine until the hydrant connection was made,” Goyette said. “If it had been a larger fire, digging out the hydrant might have caused a delay at a time when seconds count. If you are able to adopt a hydrant, the fire department and your neighbors would be grateful for your assistance.”

A February 9th house fire in Palmer, also started by a candle, killed a 53-year-old woman.

“This is the second fatal fire in the last two weeks caused by a candle,” said Fire Marshall Coan in a statement. “I would encourage people to switch to battery-operated candles especially in homes with young children, people with disabilities, or pets.”

The fire was jointly investigated by the Adams Fire Department, the Adams Police Department and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of Berkshire District Attorney Capeless. Assistance was received from an electrical expert, the Code Compliance Unit of the Department of Fire Services’ Division of Fire Safety and State Police Crime Scene Services.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org