Home in deadly Pittsfield blaze had no smoke detectors on 1st, 2nd floors

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PITTSFIELD — Investigators have determined that the Bryan Street home where a couple were killed in a fire Thursday had no working smoke detectors on its first and second floors.

Raymond and Beverly Kinsella, of 71 Bryan St., died from injuries suffered in the fire. The causes of death are still pending, according to Felix Browne, spokesman for the state's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The Kinsellas were trapped in their home when a fire broke out just before 4 a.m. Thursday, according to the Pittsfield Fire Department. When firefighters reached Raymond Kinsella, the 74-year-old man was still breathing, but died soon after being brought to Berkshire Medical Center, according Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said.

Beverly Kinsella, 73, died in the home, he said.

The couple's adult daughter, who also lived at the home, escaped with minor burns.

The cause of the fire was likely a short-circuited electrical cord that was surrounded by boxes and other items, Czerwinski said Thursday.

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The state Department of Fire Services sent a fire investigation unit and compliance officer to the scene to assist local investigators, according to spokeswoman Cindy Ouellette. "With a fatal fire, many of the fire departments call in our fire investigation unit," she said. "They were looking at smoke alarm placement, if the smoke alarms were operating, stuff like that."

There was one smoke alarm in the home, sitting on a shelf in the basement, Ouellette said. The sole alarm was sounding on the basement, and the family was asleep when the blaze broke out.

The fire occurred in the middle of Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme is "look, listen and learn," Ouellette said.

It's important that people have a practiced home escape plan and ensure that all of their smoke detectors are working and under 10 years old, she said.

"I even have a ladder if my first floor exit is blocked," Ouellette said. "I've always been cautious about it."

If a detector doesn't have a date inscribed on the back, they are more than 10 years old and need to be replaced, she said.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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