20 displaced, 2 dead, 1 in critical condition after New Bedford fire

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said a second person is confirmed dead after a massive fire Tuesday.

The announcement comes shortly after District Attorney Thomas Quinn confirmed the identity of the first dead person in the fire, Manuel Moreira, 59, who lived on the fourth floor of that building.

The fire happened just after 3 p.m. Tuesday on Acushnet Avenue.

“The fire controlled this entire building by the time we arrived here, it really had a significant headway,” New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger told ABC 6 News.

Kruger said that when they arrived, they encountered heavy flames and immediately made five rescues using ground ladders.

The 32-unit rooming house did not have a sprinkler system.

“The fire alarm system was working like it was supposed to, but any time you can have a sprinkler system it’s always better than not having one,” Kruger said.

Aside from 20 search and rescue firefighters in the building looking for residents, drones helped in the search.

“This is really the first time we’ve actually used them, at this fire, and it’s great for damage assessment, cause in origin, search and rescue, fire extension.”

He added when conditions became worse, all firefighters had to evacuate from the rooming house.

“It’s been a long two days for the New Bedford fire department, a lot of the guys that were here yesterday for the fire that were involved in the search yesterday looking for these victims, were here this afternoon. There was some sense of closure for them, you know they really risked their lives to find this victim,” Kruger said.

The fire also hospitalized five, with one in critical condition, and displaced over 20 residents.

The second resident who was originally unaccounted for Tuesday night was reported safe on Wednesday.

Categories: Massachusetts, New Bedford, News