One Dead in Massachusetts Apartment Fire

WOBURN, Mass. --

A 21-year-old woman was killed Monday night when a fierce blaze tore through a multi-family apartment house in Woburn.

NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that police got a 911 call about 10:45 p.m. from a neighbor who could hear the woman yelling for help.

"She started screaming and we ran around the other side of the house and one of the other guys broke open the front window to get her out and then the flames just went up to ... everything ... and we couldn't get in there," neighbor Loren McAllister said.

Other neighbors tried to help rescue the woman trapped in the Prospect Street apartment.

"I live right there. I come running down here. He's out here. We were going to smash that window to get through but the whole house just went up," neighbor John Laferty said.

They stood in the cold, watching the building burn, unable to do anything to help. They said the building was very quickly consumed by flames and it appeared the victim was trapped in the apartment.

"We tried to break into the doors and we couldn't get in because they were barricaded. There was a bureau in front of this door, in the front and on the other side of the bedroom door there was stuff in front of that one," neighbor Steve Young said, adding that it seemed like the woman was barricaded inside the unit.

The victim was visiting a resident who lives there. Neighbors identified him as George William Braceland. In 1993, officials said, Braceland and several teenage friends burned down his father's house on Partridge Lane in Burlington while "huffing" -- inhaling gasoline to get high. One of them lit a cigarette and sparked a massive blaze.

Tragedy struck again in January of this year when another young woman died in Braceland's apartment, allegedly from a drug overdose, Huff reported.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said that Monday's blaze was likely caused by the improper use and disposal of smoking materials.

"When I came out of the house, the whole front of the house was on flames," Robin Rodriguez said. "It went up real fast."

The victim's name was not released.

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