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February 1, 2013

City woman ID'd as fire victim

Kim Anderson, 55, perished in Windsor Lane blaze

A 55-year-old Gloucester woman has been identified by the Office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner as the person who died in a fire at her home last Saturday on Windsor Lane.

Kim Anderson — who was listed as the owner of the home at 4 Windsor Lane, and according to neighbors’ accounts, lived there alone with her two dogs — was confirmed Thursday morning as the victim of the fire that raced through the house on a small street off Western Avenue, just beyond Stage Fort Park. The dogs also perished in the blaze, fire officials have said.

In a statement issued Thursday, Carrie Kimball Monahan, director of communications for the office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said that Anderson’s identification was confirmed through dental records.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation pending completion of the autopsy by the medical examiner’s office, Monahan’s statement indicated. The fire is being jointly investigated by the Gloucester Fire and Police departments, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the DA’s office.

The two-alarm fire, which struck at around 11 p.m. last Saturday night, marked Gloucester’s fifth significant house fire in 10 days. No firefighters, other emergency personnel or neighbors were injured in the blaze.

Firefighters said at the time they believed that smoke detectors in the home may have been inactive or faulty, since the department received no notice of the fire until a neighbor saw flames billowing from a skylight and windows and called firefighters.

Gloucester Fire Chief Eric Smith said that, given the level of damage at the home, it was hard to confirm for sure if smoke detectors were installed and operational, but it seemed unlikely.

Smith said earlier this week that the Gloucester Fire Department is not only encouraging residents to install and check smoke alarms in their homes, but is also doing what they can to help people get smoke alarms up and working. The department is also working with insurance companies to acquire donated smoke detectors for Gloucester residents who might be “having trouble making ends meet,” Smith said.

Anyone having difficulty installing a smoke detector can also turn to the department for help. Whether the person is not physically capable of installing it, does not own the proper installation equipment — like a ladder or screwdriver — or needs advice on where to position a smoke detector, the resident can call the department’s fire prevention division, and firefighters can swing by to help, Smith said.

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