Victims Identified as Second Person Dies in New Bedford Fire
NEW BEDFORD — The second person critically injured in a house fire in New Bedford on Thursday afternoon has died, according to city and state officials.
The victims have been identified as 78-year-old Radames Lopez Mendrez and Eneida Gonzalez Mangual, 79.
Fire crews rescued both victims from the second floor of a two-story Chestnut Street home that went up in flames at around 1:40 p.m. Thursday.
Mendrez was pronounced dead at St. Luke's Hospital shortly after his arrival, and Mangual succumbed to her injuries later.
Two adults escaped the building and were also taken to the hospital for treatment, while two children managed to escape unharmed, officials stated.
An investigation found that the fire began in a second-floor bedroom, although the cause cannot be officially determined.
There is no evidence that it was intentionally set, leading investigators to believe the fire was accidental.
This is the second fatal fire in New Bedford in less than a month, after two men died in a North End rooming house fire in late March.
"On behalf of Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford Fire Department, I want to offer our most sincere condolences to this family at a time of such terrible loss," said New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger.
"This was the second fire in three weeks to claim two members of our community, and our hearts are with all the loved ones who are grieving today."
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey noted that more than 85% of fire deaths so far this year have occurred in people's homes.
"In addition to working smoke alarms on every level of the residence, every household should have a home escape plan," he noted, adding that older adults are most at risk.
"Take some time this weekend to create a plan with two ways out, and practice both of them so you know what to do and where to go in an emergency."