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Fatal Westfield fire caused by smoking, oxygen

February 28, 2013

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Officials say a fire in Westfield this week that took the life of a 72-year-old woman was caused by smoking near a home oxygen system.

The victim in the blaze Monday at the General Shepard Apartments was identified as Margaret Lunden.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said Wednesday that smoke alarms in the high-rise elderly housing building operated and there were no other injuries. Damage was limited to the victim’s first-floor unit and was estimated at $50,000.

Coan says there have been 12 fire deaths in Massachusetts so far in 2013, and half the victims have been over the age of 65.

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