1 person dead, several sent to hospital as firefighters battle apartment complex fire

By: Alison Pierel

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

FALL RIVER, M.A. (WLNE) – A 72-year-old woman is dead and multiple firefighters have been taken to the hospital while crews battled a large fire at an apartment complex in Fall River Tuesday morning.

Firefighters said the fire broke out around 9:40 a.m. at the Four Winds Apartment complex on Main Street when a car drove into the building’s utility room.

According to officials, 72-year-old Judith Mauretti of Fall River was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 75-year-old passenger of the vehicle was taken to the hospital in critical condition and five firefighters were taken to the hospital with one being treated for smoke inhalation while fighting the blaze.

Fire officials said when Mauretti crashed into the utility room of the complex, a gas line was ruptured and it caused an explosion.

Shortly after, flames quickly spread on a large portion of the 36 unit building.

“Obviously because they worked very hard at this scene, they were treated for exhaustion,” Chief John Lynch of the Fall River Fire Department told ABC 6.

It was an emotional start to the New Year especially for the Dodge family, whose son lives in the unit right above where the car crashed.

“He was literally shaking. When he [saw] us he finally calmed down,” said Bob Dodge.

 “They’re both safe. [He] and his girlfriend are safe and we’re so thankful for that,” added Paula Dodge.

For many including Jack Steele he now has nowhere to go. He said that although his home may be in ruins, he’s just lucky his family got out okay.

“Furniture can be replaced, everything can be replaced, but life can’t,” he said.

Chief Lynch said 45 people have been displaced.

 

©WLNE-TV /ABC6 2018