Firefighters: Boxes slowed rescue attempt in deadly blaze

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Firefighters in Massachusetts say they had difficulty battling a blaze that killed a 74-year-old woman and attempting a rescue because her home was crowded with boxes blocking their path.

The woman was found in bed in her Fall River home early Sunday and taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was identified Monday as Lillian Cordeiro.

Fire Capt. Neil Furtado tells The Herald News the three-story home was packed with so many boxes that firefighters were afraid the floor might collapse.

A neighbor tells WJAR-TV that she helped the family remove more than 100 unopened boxes from one apartment.

Furtado says an extension cord wrapped around a bannister likely caused the fire.

A responding firefighter was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and later released.

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