EVERETT, Mass. --
Fire officials are saying a carelessly flicked cigarette likely ignited the blaze that killed an elderly bedridden Everett woman and her brother early Thursday.
The family of Edna and Edward Power said Edna, 80, was in frail health and only had a few days to live when her 76-year-old brother likely suffered critical injuries trying to rescue her.
Edna, trapped in the house, was killed in the blaze. Her brother, Edward, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he later died.
Investigators said a first-floor tenant of the three-story house at 8 Blake Terrace threw a cigarette butt out a front window. It landed on a pile of garbage on the porch, causing flames to spread quickly at the sibling's home.
"I came out and it was just all in flames," said neighbor Dave Donnelly, who tried to help quell the blaze.
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"I tried to go in the front. I couldn't go in the front, the flames were hitting me in the face. So I got out and me and another guy ran in the back, tried to kick in the rear door. It wouldn't open," Donnelly said.
Edward and Edna Power family photo taken about 10 years ago.
The Powers owned the home and lived on the second floor, fire officials said.
"They were successful in bringing one person out alive but we believe the second person is deceased," said Everett Deputy Fire Chief Bill Humphries at the scene.
The victims were described by neighbors as elderly, "the nicest people you want to meet." Well-liked fixtures in the community, they were family friends of Everett's mayor.
"That's not a call you want to receive as a mayor, that people in your community are trapped in a home and there's a fire," said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr.
The siblings grew up in the house and for years Edward looked after his sister, and he always worried about fire.
"Such a happy, jolly person. You knew he was happy, no matter what," said neighbor Evelyn Frautten. "It's such a needless, needless thing that this has happened."
The first witness on the scene was said to be an off-duty state police officer, Sgt. Michael Fiore, who lives in the area.
He was able to get Edward Power out of the house, but Edward broke free and ran back inside the house to try to rescue his sister, suffering critical injuries.
"The real hero here is Mr. Power who had gone forward, back into that room, back into a blanket of smoke and fire, and comforted his sister and, unfortunately, they both came to perish today," Fiore said.
Everett Fatal Fire, 8 Blake Terrace -71.0462530000000142.4165691189641051522810436
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