FALL RIVER, Mass. — Firefighters in Massachusetts say they had difficulty battling a blaze that killed a 74-year-old woman and attempting a rescue because her home was crowded with boxes blocking their path.

The woman was found in bed in her Fall River home early Sunday and taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was identified Monday as Lillian Cordeiro.

Fire Capt. Neil Furtado tells The Herald News the three-story home was packed with so many boxes that firefighters were afraid the floor might collapse.

A neighbor tells WJAR-TV that she helped the family remove more than 100 unopened boxes from one apartment.

Furtado says an extension cord wrapped around a bannister likely caused the fire.

A responding firefighter was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and later released.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.