DA Identifies Two Men Killed in New Bedford (MA) Fire that Displaced Roughly 40 Residents

Firefighter carrying a ladder

Jackson Cote



Authorities Thursday identified two men killed in a fire in New Bedford earlier this week that displaced dozens more residents.

The Bristol District Attorney’s Office identified the two victims of the fatal Monday morning blaze at 1283 Acushnet Ave. as 49-year-old Tomas Gomez-Delacruz and 40-year-old Juan Macario-Mejia, both of whom were New Bedford residents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but foul play isn’t suspected, the district attorney’s office noted in a statement.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at 1279 and 1283 Acushnet Ave. around 12:15 a.m. Monday. The heavy fire had spread up the exterior walls of the buildings into the roofs and attics of both structures when crews arrived, according to the New Bedford Fire Department. A second alarm was immediately sounded for the fire.

Once crews began advancing to the third floor and attic in the mixed-use residential and commercial buildings, which are separated by an alley, the crews discovered the fire had already spread to the stairways, the fire department said in a Facebook post.

Not only were the two men killed in the fire. The blaze also displaced roughly 40 residents. A firefighter was also taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford to be evaluated, according to the department’s post.

The fire originated in the alley between the buildings, and its cause remains under investigation by the department’s Fire Investigation Unit, the State Fire Marshals Office and New Bedford police detectives, according to authorities.

“I am grateful for the swift and skillful response of our firefighters and the prompt support of all the responding agencies and organizations,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell wrote in a statement. “I wish to express my deepest sympathy for the families of the victims, along with the many residents and businesses that were displaced by the fire.”

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army provided services to those in need after the fire, and on Tuesday, Firefighter Richard Vigeant, Lt. Alcino Marques, Lt. Lionel Tetreault and members of the city’s Fire Prevention Bureau went to the scene of the blaze to retrieve the belongings of the displaced families, according to authorities.

Capt. Dan Coons, the head of fire prevention, said authorities helped roughly two dozen families gather their belongings.

“Families were escorted in one at a time with fire personnel to ensure their safety,” the department said. “Fire personnel assisted them in retrieving their belongings and safely exiting the building.”

Related Content: Two people dead, dozens more displaced after fire in New Bedford

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