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April 10, 2013

Update: Summer Street fire claims life of girl, 15

A fire that damaged a Summer Street home in Gloucester last night has now claimed the life of the 15-year-old girl who firefighters initially found unconscious and unresponsive in the home, according to fire officials.

The girl, now identified by the District Attorney’s Office and Fire Marshal’s office as Victoria “Tori” McCabe Schmelzer, died late this morning at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she had been taken after an initial transport from the scene to Addison Gilbert Hospital last night.

A spokesman at Mass. General Hospital had confirmed to the Times that the girl had been in the intensive care unit at MGH earlier ths morning, but at the time had declined any further comment in her condition.

The nighttime fire in the home at 36 Summer St. was accidental and likely caused by combustibles left too close to a floor lamp in an upstairs bedroom of the two-apartment house, fire officials said this morning. Fire officials also told the Times that there were smoke detectors on all three floors, but the ones on the second floor, where the fire occurred, were “inoperable,” officials said.

When firefighters arrived on scene about 8:30 p.m., they found four residents — two from the burning apartment and two from the adjacent apartment within the building — outside of the house. The girl’s 17-year-old brother, Alex, lay sprawled out on the ground, according to Deputy Steve Aiello, who was on scene at the fire.

“Her brother had attempted to get her out of the building by trying to make it to the second floor,” Aiello said this morning. “He made a valiant attempt to get to her. He had singed eyebrows and inhaled smoke.”

Alex McCabe was also transported to Addison Gilbert Hospital for smoke inhalation last night, Aiello said.

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