For Immediate Release - February 27, 2014

Elderly Couple Killed in Methuen Fire

State Fire Stephen D. Coan, Methuen Fire Chief Stephen Buote, and Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the cause of yesterday’s deadly fire at 22 Buttonwood Dr. Methuen will remain undetermined but does not appear suspicious. The fire claimed the lives of two people and a dog. The Essex District Attorney’s Office will release the official identification of the victims once the Medical Examiner’s Office has done so, but it is believed the victims are the elderly couple who lived in the home.

Chief Buote said, “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of these victims. A fatal fire is difficult not only for them but for the community as a whole.”

The fire was first reported by a police officer on patrol and was burning for sometime before the fire department was called. The roof and first floor collapsed into the basement of the home. The extent of the destruction left little evidence for investigators to pinpoint the exact area of origin of the fire, which seemed to be in the area of the attached garage. There is nothing to indicate this was anything other than an accidental fire, but investigators cannot rule out several probable causes including improper disposal of fireplace ashes, electrical failure or a motor vehicle.

The fire was jointly investigated by the Methuen Fire Department, Methuen Police Department, and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

There is no evidence that the home had working smoking alarms. Neither first arriving firefighters nor neighbors heard smoke alarms sounding. Coan said, “Death by fire is an awful way to lose an elderly relative or friend. I would encourage each of us to make sure our own parents, grandparents or older neighbors have working smoke alarms.” He added, “On Sunday, March 9 when we change our clocks, let’s change the batteries in a senior’s smoke alarm.”