|Middletown firefighters investigating Elmwood Avenue|
Monday, March 24, 2014
Middletown couple who died in fire identified
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
A Middletown couple killed Tuesday night in a house fire died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns, according to Bucks County’s coroner.
Caroline Jenkins, 65, and her husband Raymond, no age available, had gone out to dinner about 90 minutes before the fire broke out in their North Elmwood Avenue home, authorities said.
Their deaths have been ruled accidental, Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell said.
On Wednesday, township Fire Marshal James McGuire said the fire started in the basement of the home and may have been burning for a while before it was reported shortly after 8 p.m.
There were no smoke detectors in the house, McGuire added.
McGuire declined to say what caused the fire, saying the investigation is continuing and Middletown police and the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal are involved. He added it could be a few weeks before a final determination is made.
Raymond Jenkins, who was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday night, was found on the first floor of the home near the basement steps, McGuire said. An autopsy found he suffered “extensive burns” and smoke inhalation, Campbell said.
Caroline was found on the second floor in her bedroom, McGuire said. She was rescued and rushed to St. Mary Medical Center, where she later was pronounced dead. She suffered mostly smoke inhalation, but also had some burns, though not as badly as her husband, Campbell said.
The home is in a remote area off Periwinkle Drive accessed by an unpaved road near Wisteria Avenue. On Wednesday morning, police set up a road block at Wisteria Avenue while fire officials continued with the investigation and cleanup.
The home was build before 1776 and McGuire suspects that holes in the floor that were created for registers that were part of the original heating system may have contributed to the fire spreading. The farmhouse was heavily damaged and parts were declared structurally unsound, McGuire said.
Volunteer firefighters from the Parkland, William Penn, Penndel, Lower Southampton and Langhorne-Middletown companies battled the blaze until it was placed under control shortly before 10 p.m. None of the nearly 40 firefighters were hurt in the blaze.