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Electrical Cord Caused Fatal Chelmsford Fire

CHELMSFORD, Mass. (AP) — The state Fire Marshal says a blaze in a Chelmsford condominium complex that killed a married couple was caused by an electrical cord running under a fold-out couch.

The fire Jan. 5 resulted in the deaths of 67-year-old Susan Astle and 77-year-old Paul Deslauriers, destroyed 21 units in the Woodcrest Condominiums, and left 31 people homeless. A 7-year-old boy injured in the blaze remains hospitalized.

Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Fire Chief Michael Curran said in a statement that damage from the fire was so severe that investigators were not able to determine exactly what was wrong with the cord, whether it was frayed, pinched or otherwise defective.

The building did not have a sprinkler system because they were not required when the complex was built.

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