NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford Fire Chief Paul Coderre and New Bedford Firefighters Local 841 have issued statements regarding Saturday's house fire that claimed the life of an elderly man.

On Saturday evening around 5 p.m., crews responded to a house fire at 141 Myrtle Street in New Bedford. Firefighters were able to locate a man on the second floor of the residence and successfully rescue him at the scene.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Robert Seamans, 88, of 141 Myrtle Street later succumbed to his injuries at St. Luke's Hospital.

In a statement issued Sunday, the New Bedford Firefighters Union highlighted that Engine 7 located at 700 Cottage Street, which is just seven blocks from the scene of the fire, was blacked out for the day.

"Blackouts affect response times and firefighters available on the scene to perform firefighting tasks and or rescue, it also leaves less coverage for the rest of the city during an incident," the statement says.

The City of New Bedford began "blacking out" firehouses a decade ago in an attempt to cut the budget.

Fire Chief Joseph Coderre released a statement regarding the response time to the fire and further details regarding the incident.

"Upon arriving 1 minute and 40 seconds from the time of the alarm, Command Unit 1 reported heavy fire conditions on the second floor. Ladder Company 1 arrived 2 minutes and 22 seconds from the time of the alarm, and Engine 8 arrived in 3 minutes and 53 seconds," said Coderre.

"The New Bedford Fire Department was consistent with the national standard for fire response time according to the National Fire Protection Association," added Coderre.

The two-family residence suffered extensive damage. The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation which is being conducted by the New Bedford Fire Department Investigation Unit and Police, along with State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Read Chief Coderre's complete statement here: Chief Coderre Statement on Fatal Myrtle St. Fire.

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