Fatal Fire In Fairfield Ruled Accidental; Mother-Daughter Victims ID'd

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Fairfield Fire Inspector Hank Ference conferring with Fire Marshall Bill Kessler in front of 135 Crane Street after a fire that claimed two lives Monday morning.
Fairfield Fire Inspector Hank Ference conferring with Fire Marshall Bill Kessler in front of 135 Crane Street after a fire that claimed two lives Monday morning. Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Fairfield Fire Marshal has ruled that the blaze that killed a mother and her teenage daughter early Monday morning began on the first floor and was accidental in nature, officials said. 

Investigators identified the two victims as Maureen Gerrity, 47, and her daughter, Katherine O’Neill, 19, after notifying the next of kin, officials said Monday afternoon.

Firefighters found O'Neil and Gerrity in the same room shortly after arriving at the burning home at 135 Crane St. at 1 a.m., officials said. O'Neil was reportedly disabled, fire officials said.

Both women were declared dead at Bridgeport Hospital after being pulled from the burning Cape-style home by firefighters, officials said. 

On a 911 call, a neighbor at 12:58 a.m. Monday said there were "flames pouring out of the house," fire officials said. By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the blaze had extended into the second floor and attic space as well as dropping down into the basement from the living room where it began, the fire marshal said.

When he arrived on the scene, Assistant Chief George Gomola reported “heavy fire showing from the [front and right side]" of the building.

It took most of the on-duty Fairfield firefighters less than an hour to put out the fire completely, clearing the scene for the investigators at 1:45 a.m. 

No working smoke detectors were found in the two-story home, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Tracey said. "It was an extraordinary effort," Tracey said of the work of the firefighters. The flames, he said, made the building so hot that several firefighters believed they had been burned through their suits after entering. Read more about the fire here on the Daily Voice. 

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