Cigarette Starts Double Fatal Fire

A Mother and Son Were Killed By a Fire Started By a Discarded Cigarette, Officials Said

An elderly mother and her grown son are dead after trying to escape a fire in their Milford home Wednesday morning.

A discarded cigarette caused the fire, which was made worse by oxygen tanks inside the home, officials said.

Firefighters received a call to 20 Brookdale Avenue home just after 2 a.m. They found a woman Ramona Hughes in a closet. She was apparently hiding, they said. Her son, Jimmy, died just feet from the back door.

“The male was located on the first floor, about two feet from the back door. The female was located on the second floor and she was actually found inside of a closet,” Capt. Christopher Zak, of Milford Fire, said. “Not sure if she panicked, tried to escape from the fire and hide in the closet or if she thought the closet was the exit out.”

One man got out. He lived in an apartment in the back of the home, officials said.

The home had no smoke detectors.

Zak said it was a tough fire to put out. As firefighters tried to rescue the two people inside, the stairs collapsed.

“When the initial engine company went through the front door to attack the fire they actually fell through the first floor and they also found the staircase weakened,” Zak said. “They also had an oxygen tank that was tipped over and leaking, actually feeding the fire.”

Firefighters used a ladder inside the house to reach the second floor.

Despite the difficulty firefighters had, no firefighters were hurt.

Many cars lined Brookdale Avenue but only one call was made to 911.

“I heard a funny nose like a crackling sound, couldn't figure out what it was. I looked out, saw the reflection of the flames in the window across the street,” John Collins, a neighbor, said.  He knew the mother and son.

Officials believe the fire began on the first floor and moved quickly up the staircase.

This is the second fatal fire this week. One person was killed Tuesday morning in a fire in Berlin.

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