FITCHBURG, MASS. (WHDH) - An overloaded power strip is being blamed for a Fitchburg house fire that claimed the lives of two men early Sunday morning.

Crews responding to a reported structure fire at 14 Highland Ave. around 12:30 a.m. worked on putting out the flames when they discovered two unconscious men inside, according to Fitchburg Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Dateo Jr.

“While they were searching, they found a victim on the first floor in the front foyer way. They pulled him out and it was about two or three minutes later they found a second victim on the second floor, in one of the bedrooms, still on the bed,” he said. “They were unconscious and not breathing at the time.”

Both men, whose names have not been released, were rushed to the hospital but did not survive.

A preliminary investigation suggests that an overloaded power strip may have started the fire and there were no working smoke alarms in the home.

A hazmat team also responded to the scene due to an acrid smell that was found to be coming from an unused photography lab in the basement.

An investigation remains ongoing.

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