Fatal Sturbridge fire started in microwave, smoke alarm dated

Victim volunteered at senior center, former nurse’s aid

By Citizen Chronicle Writers

STURBRIDGE — A fire claimed one life Sunday, April 22. Charlotte Lloyd, the only resident of a one-bedroom apartment at 16 Fairgrounds Road was rescued from the fire, but the elderly woman later succumbed to injuries at Harrington Memorial Hospital in Southbridge.

Lloyd, 86, was a former nurse’s aide who has volunteered at the Sturbridge Senior Center and was active with St. Vincent DePaul.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, “Whether the microwave itself failed, or food inside the microwave ignited, cannot be determined. The fire from the microwave oven ignited the victim’s clothing. She may have attempted to distinguish the flames. When firefighters located her, water was still running in the sink.”

The smoke alarm in the apartment did not operate. The alarm was determined to be more than 10 years old and the backup battery was not operational.

Sturbridge Fire Chief John A. Grasso, Jr. said that investigators are working with the owner of the building to ensure that every apartment in the building has current and functional smoke alarms. The building where the fire occurred has approximately 20 apartments.

Sturbridge firefighters responded to a call of smoke in the building at about 4:35 p.m. with the assistance of Fire and EMT services from Brimfield, Brookfield, Southbridge and Spencer. The Southbridge Fire Department transferred the resident to Harrington Memorial Hospital, where she later died from her injuries.

“On behalf of the Town of Sturbridge, I offer my condolences to the woman’s family and friends. This is such a tragic way to lose a loved one,” commented Chief Grasso.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, “The best thing to do when a microwave oven fire occurs is to keep the door shut, turn the oven off, and only if it is safe to do so, unplug the appliance. People may wish to consider buying a safety sensor that will shut off the power to the microwave at the first sign of smoke.”

Lloyd’s obituary can be found in The Citizen Chronicle‘s obituaries.


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