House fire in Whately Wednesday night leaves two women dead - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

House fire in Whately on Wednesday night leaves 2 women dead

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WHATELY, MA (WSHM) -

A mother and daughter were killed following a fire on State Road in Whatley late Wednesday night.

The victims in the fatal fire have been identified as Sonia Golonka, 64, and Mary Golonka, 94.

"We believe that the daughter came from upstairs to try and get the mother out of the house and didn't make it," said Whatley Fire Chief John Hannum.

Hannum says Sonia made the 911 call late last night after a fire started in the home she shares with her mother Mary.

"The fire was rolling through from the back room to the porch and into the main part of the house," said Hannum.

When officials arrived on scene they rescued the mother and daughter who were both unconscious from the burning home and rushed them to Cooley Dickinson Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Whatley fire officials received help battling the fire from several neighboring communities including Hatfield and Sunderland. Chief Hannum said heavy wind last night made the fire even harder for firefighters to fight.

Officials say that the fire was caused by a malfunction of the fire place. An investigation revealed that the fire started underneath the floor of an old prefabricated fireplace where over time the fire proof brick had cracked and the metal fireplace rusted and decayed.

The family's property is known as Golonka Farm, which opened in the small Franklin County community back in 1956. According to the company's website Mary started the farm with her husband and now her youngest son and his wife run it.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says that homeowners need to have their heating appliances checked by a licensed professional each year. Heating appliances include items like wood stoves, chimney's and propone or oil fueled furnaces. Coan says that having regular maintenance preformed on these items is a key to preventing fires.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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