Authorities Identify Mom, Daughter Killed in Fairfield House Fire

Authorities have identified the woman and her disabled teenage daughter who died after an overnight house fire in Fairfield.

The victims are identified as 47-year-old Maureen Gerrity and 19-year-old Katherine O'Neill.

According to the Fairfield Fire Department, the fire broke out in the living room of a single-family home at 135 Crane Street just before 1 a.m. on Monday. Investigators believe the fire was accidental.

"When I opened the door, the flames were as high as the building," said neighbor Ruth Guglielmoni, who witnessed the blaze.

Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from the front of the house.

Neighbors told firefighters two women were trapped inside.

Firefighters entered the home through a window. They found the victims in a second-floor bedroom, pulled them from the home and rushed them to Bridgeport Hospital, where they were later pronounced dead.

Officials said at least one of the victims died of smoke inhalation.

"The flames were so intense, they just couldn't make headway," Fairfield Fire Chief Richard Felner said of the firefighters at the scene. "When they were in there, they took a beating. They did everything they could."

Neighbors said the fire was the worst thing they've ever seen. Some ran over to help, but the smoke and flames were too intense. Firefighters said the flames spread to the attic, second floor and basement of the home.

Fire officials said they could only locate one smoke detector in the basement of the home.

"If they had smoke detectors, that might have saved their lives," Felner explained.

Carbon monoxide detectors were working.

Fairfield police, a Connecticut State Police Arson Investigation Unit, United Illuminating and the American Medical Response responded to the scene.

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