Officials release names of mother, daughter killed in fire - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Officials release names of mother, daughter killed in Fairfield fire

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Photo courtesy of the Fairfield Fire Dept. Photo courtesy of the Fairfield Fire Dept.
Photo courtesy of the Fairfield Fire Dept. Photo courtesy of the Fairfield Fire Dept.

Authorities have identified the mother and daughter, who died in an early Monday morning fire in Fairfield.

Police tell Eyewitness News the fire was called in by a neighbor just before 1 a.m. They said the blaze was reported at 135 Crane St.

"I came out and looked and I saw all the lights and everything," said Shane Michaud, of Fairfield. "By then, the ambulance had gone so I didn't know anything bad had happened."

When crews arrived, they found flames shooting from the front of the home. Firefighters from Bridgeport and Westport were called to assist.

There was so much fire, firefighters couldn't even get in through the front door. Instead firefighters went in through a window, battled the blazing fire and intense heat and rushed up the stairs.

They pulled two people, 47-year-old Maureen Gerrity and her daughter, 19-year-old Katherine O'Neill, from a second-floor bedroom. The victims were rushed to Bridgeport Hospital for severe smoke inhalation. However, both Gerrity and O'Neill were pronounced dead a short time later.

"They were in a second floor bedroom," said Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola. "There was a lot of heat at the top of the stairs. The firefighters on scene went above and beyond. They pushed through and they were able to get to the victims and get them outside very, very quickly."

The victims have only been identified as a mother and daughter living at the home and were both located in upstairs bedrooms in the home, officials said.

"It's always a tragedy," said Assistant Chief Christopher Tracy. "The crews afterwards, one of the guys said 'You want to make a rescue, you don't want to make a recovery.' You do everything you can to save those lives."

Investigators said they discovered after the fire was out that there was one working smoke detector as well as carbon monoxide detectors inside the home. 

The State Police Arson Investigation Unit assisted the Fairfield fire marshal and determined the fire stated in the living room on the first floor. The fire was ruled "accidental in nature." 

Before Monday's deadly blaze, Eyewitness News has learned the last fatal fire in Fairfield was at the Hulls Highway condo complex in December 2009. Officials said 88-year-old Shirley Smith died in that fire.

Neighbors said they were coming to terms with what happened.

"It's really sad," said Michaud. "I didn't know the people, but it's very sad."

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