10 july 2014
The building where five members of one family died along with two other victims in an intense blaze had an alarm system, yet witnesses say no warning sounded. That’s one thing investigators are focusing on, along with reports that sounds of fireworks or an explosion preceded the flames.
One victim of Massachusetts’ deadliest fire in 20 years had fireworks in his apartment, his brother said, but investigators have not suggested a possible cause or said fireworks may have played a role. It’s illegal for individuals to possess fireworks in Massachusetts.
A police officer on routine patrol was the first to report the fire around 4 a.m., while several tenants ran about 100 yards to a fire station, Fire Chief Edward Pitta said. But the blaze was burning strong by the time firefighters arrived.
“I expect this to be a long and thorough process,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said, whose office is part of the investigation.
Ryan said she is “deeply concerned” by reports that no fire alarms sounded. The building did not have a sprinkler system but was not required to, Pitta said.
Among the victims were Torn Sak, his longtime girlfriend, Ellen Vuong, and three of their 5 children: a 7-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy, according to Torn’s brother Thearan Sak.