• John Love / Lowell Sun

    Firefighters catch their breath and try to cool down after battling a four-alarm blaze at 50 Main St., in Pepperell Tuesday.

  • John Love / Lowell Sun

    Deputy Pepperell Fire Chief John Rose yells down to other firefighters from a door to a porch on the second floor after the fire was out.

  • John Love / Lowell Sun

    The aftermath of the four-alarm fire at 50 Main St. in Pepperell Tuesday where one person died.



PEPPERELL — One woman was killed in a four-alarm blaze that damaged three floors of a five-unit apartment building on Main Street on a hot Tuesday morning.

Fire Chief Brian Borneman said that an off-duty lieutenant first spotted the fire at 50 Main St. around 8:35 a.m. after leaving Donelan’s Supermarket. The fire required the response of 14 fire departments including Ayer, Westford, Littleton and Hollis, N.H., along with multiple ambulances.

“Upon my arrival, there was heavy fire showing from two windows on floor number one extending into the second and third floors,” Borneman said. “Conditions were definitely a factor as we progressed.”

Along with the deceased civilian, four firefighters suffered heat-related injuries and one laceration while on scene.

All five people were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Borneman said the victim was on the first floor of the apartment but would not release the name of the female.

“The name of the victim will be released pending a positive ID from the Office of the Medical Examiner,” Meghan Kelly of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said in an email.

Borneman said that Pepperell firefighters Nicole Sweeney and Greylan Scarsdale were treated for injuries at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer and later released. The other two firefighters injured were members of the Brookline, N.H. Fire Department and were transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua for treatment.

Their conditions were not immediately known.

The fire was brought under control sometime shortly after 9 a.m. Borneman said that the apartment was wood-framed and “probably over 100 years old.” He believed that there were “two or three” people in the building at the time of the fire, with other residents of the apartment notified. He did not have the total number of residents who were living in the building at the time.

According to the Pepperell Town Assessors Department, the building is owned by Smith Trustee and the Kristin S. Coyote Realty Trust.

Both owners also own other properties on Hollis Street and Groton Street. The building located on the 14,341 square-foot lot was originally built in 1920 and valued at $376,500.

On Wednesday, the state Fire Marshal’s Office said the blaze was accidental, but could not exactly identify the cause.

It said the fire could have been started by a burning candle igniting nearby combustibles or the malfunction of a power strip with several items plugged into it. Damages to the 6-family building are estimated at over $300,000.

Jon Winkler: @MrJW595 on Twitter