- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

BRIDGEWATER, N.H. (AP) - Firefighters say a couple has died in a house fire in Bridgewater, N.H.

Firefighters were called to the fire on River Road at about 12:40 a.m. Monday. They found a man and a woman on the first floor.

The New Hampshire state fire marshal said the two were identified as 72-year-old Paul Morrill and 68-year-old Betty Morrill, and that they died of smoke inhalation.

Investigators said the fire was accidental. They said the chimney liner was compromised, leading to a fire that spread.

“They did quickly locate them and remove them to the exterior of the building,” Keith Rodenhiser of the state fire marshal’s office said. “Unfortunately, the occupants were already deceased.”

State Fire Marshal William Degnan said that if working smoke detectors were present and if all exits were unblocked, the deaths may not have happened. Officials say several of the exits were blocked.

WMUR-TV reported Paul Morrill was fire chief in Bridgewater in 1975, starting the fire department. Neighbors said the two recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.

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