2 die in Mass. farmhouse fire; fireplace believed to be point of origin

Nine fire departments responded to the blaze

The Associated Press

WHATELY, Mass. — A late-night fire in a western Massachusetts farmhouse has killed a 94-year-old woman and her daughter.

A spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney's office identifies the victims as Mary Golonka and her 64-year-old daughter, Sonia Golonka.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says the fire was reported around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the single-family farmhouse in Whately, a town of about 1,500 residents in the Pioneer Valley along the Connecticut River's western banks. Coan and Chief John Hannum say the fire started beneath an old fireplace that had deteriorated and allowed heat and possibly sparks to escape.

Town fire officials say the victims were pulled from the home and taken to a Northampton hospital. Firefighters from eight surrounding communities helped battle the blaze.

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