The nighttime fire that left a 15-year-old Gloucester girl unconscious and unresponsive last night and in intensive care at a Boston hospital this morning, firefighters are saying, was accidental and likely caused by combustibles left too close to a floor lamp in an upstairs bedroom of the two-apartment Summer St. house.
A spokesman at Mass. General Hospital told the Times that the girl, identified as Victoria McCabe, of the 36 Summer St. house was in the intensive care at the hospital this morning, but would not comment further on her condition.
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 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.”
The brother was transported to Addison Gilbert Hospital for smoke inhalation last night, Aiello said.
According to fire officials, the girl’s mother and brother had been on the first floor of the apartment when the fire broke out in the vacant upstairs bedroom. The 15-year-old girl was in her upstairs bedroom, the rear room in the upper floor of the apartment.
”He told us the last time he saw her she was at the doorway of her bedroom,” Aiello said.
Shortly after the fire began to burn — likely when a floor lamp burnt some paper on the floor of a vacant second floor bedroom, Aiello said — the heavy smoke traveling toward McCabe’s room would have begun to disorient her, Aiello said. The smoke, along with heat and fire trapped the young girl.
A group of firefighters burst into the house, using a hose to clear the way, while others slung a ladder up to her window. The teams reached McCabe about the same time, finding her unconscious in the bedroom, Aiello said.
They then carried her down through the house and outside, where she was “unconscious and unresponsive,” according to radio reports at the scene.
McCabe was transported by ambulance to Addison Gilbert Hospital with her brother, then later driven by ambulance to Mass General Hospital, where she remained this morning.
The fire did not travel to the second apartment of the home, though two residents evacuated from that apartment, Aiello said.
We will look to update this story online later today at gloucestertimes.com as more information becomes available. For more coverage, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.