One Dead In Birch Hill Road Fire That Leaves House Heavily Damaged

Photo: A Belmont Fire official examines a house at 81 Birch Hill Road damaged by a fire on Friday, April 24.

A female resident died after being rescued by Belmont firefighters during an early morning blaze that heavily damaged a split ranch house at 81 Birch Hill Road on Friday, April 24.

The unidentified victim was discovered by firefighters in cardiac arrest in the 60-year-old structure located near Lantern Road and abutting Hinckley Way, according to Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.

The victim, described as not being the homeowner, was taken by Belmont ambulance to Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge where she was pronounced dead.

The fire is under investigation by the Belmont Fire and Police departments. As there was a death caused by the fire, the Massachusetts State Police, the State Fire Marshal, and the Middlesex District Attorney are part of the probe.

The fire was phoned in at approximately 4:09 a.m. by a motorist driving on Route 2 who reported it five minutes after first seeing smoke coming from the structure, said Frizzell.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the attic windows, which resulted in a second alarm being called. Fire personnel discovered the fire on the first floor in the area of the kitchen which had raced up into the attic, said Frizzell.

It took about half an hour to put out the fire. Firefighters remained at the scene to search for any smoldering flames. A cat was found under a bed in the basement and handed over to Belmont Animal Control, said Frizzell.

Frizzell said the structure while heavily damaged “was by no means a total loss” with the most fire damage in the kitchen area and in the attic floorboards.

Belmont Engines 1 and 2, Ladder 1 and Rescue 1 fought the fire while Arlington and Cambridge’s Fire assisted at the scene. Waltham and Watertown provided covered at Belmont’s firehouses.

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