Boston firefighters find body of elderly woman in Brighton apartment; man attacks responders

An elderly woman was found dead today inside a Brighton apartment by Boston firefighters who had to fend off violent attacks by a man inside the unit before they stopped him from jumping out of the fourth-floor window, officials said.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald told reporters that firefighters arrived at 2-4 Fidelis Way shortly before 9 a.m. to investigate a fire reported in a fourth floor unit.

Firefighters entered the unit and discovered the body of the woman, MacDonald said. “It was obvious to firefighters that she was deceased,” he said.

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Davis said that a man inside the apartment became combative, engaged in a physical altercation with the firefighters who then had to restrain him. Davis said firefighters stopped the man from jumping out the fourth floor window.

The man is in police custody and currently being treated for smoke inhalation at a Boston hospital, officials said. He was removed from the building on a stretcher.

“He looked like he was sick, rocking his head around,’’ said Anthony Perry, 42, an area resident who watched the man being brought out of the building. “There was a sheet up to his shoulder, and I could see his hand (was) cuffed to the stretcher.’’

Perry said the man appeared to be in his 50s. MacDonald said the victim was an elderly woman.

The relationship between the man and the victim was not immediately clear.

Davis said the cause of the woman’s death was not yet known and will be established through an autopsy that will be performed by the state medical examiner’s office.

He said the investigation is ongoing.

The fire, in a building owned by the Boston Housing Authority, was quickly extinguished, MacDonald said. He said the firefighters who entered the unit confronted an unusual situation.

“They did a great job. First of all, there was a fire and a smoke condition and the man was combative,’’ MacDonald said.

He said the man had a weapon in his hand and went after firefighters.

“The man tried to jump out the window and the firefighters disarmed him and held him out in the hallway until Boston Police arrived, Macdonald said.

“We don’t run into it every day. The firefighters handled themsleves as true professionals,’’ he said.