Fatal Westborough fire ruled accidental, victim identified

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WESTBOROUGH – The house fire that claimed the life of an elderly woman in Westborough was determined to be accidental and the victim has been identified.

On Tuesday, the Worcester District Attorney’s Office identified the victim as Evelyn M. McGlory, 86. 

In a press release announcing the outcome of the investigation, Jake Wark, the public information for the Department of Fire Services, said that although investigators found no evidence that the fire was intentionally set, they were unable to rule out whether the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials or an “electric event.”

Investigators did determine that smoke alarms in the residence were not operational at the time of the fire.

The determination was made following a joint investigation by the Westborough Fire and Police Departments, State Police and the State Fire Marshal’s office.

“On behalf of the Westborough Fire Department, I want to express our deepest condolences to the family that lost a loved one yesterday,” said Westborough’s Fire Chief Patrick Purcell. “Our thoughts are with them today, and we want to remind every family that smoking materials and electrical events are the two leading causes of fatal fires in Massachusetts. If you smoke or have guests who do, be sure to put it out, all the way, every time, using a heavy ashtray with water or sand. And when using or charging electrical devices, avoid overloading power strips and extension cords. Plug heavy appliances like heaters, microwaves, and other items directly into a wall outlet that can handle the current.”

On Monday, at 1:44 p.m., the Westborough Fire Department responded to a single-family residence located at 55 Belknap Street following a report of a fire. According to the state’s Department of Fire Services, while en route, fire fighters received a report of a person trapped inside the residence.

When fire fighters arrived on scene, heavy flames were venting from the front and left sides of the home.

McGlory was found deceased in the home by fire fighters conducting a search and rescue.

The Department of Fire Services said that as they were battling the blaze, fire fighters’ efforts were “complicated” by the explosion of several propane tanks adjacent to the residence.

One Westborough Fire Fighter and one Westborough police officer were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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