Police call death, fire suspicious

By John Guilfoil
Globe Staff / July 13, 2011

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An elderly woman was found dead after firefighters put out a small blaze inside her Springfield home yesterday, but investigators discovered the victim may have been slain, officials said.

A delivery person in the neighborhood called 911 about 3:10 p.m. after seeing smoke and fire coming from a home at 100 Phillips Ave., Springfield police said. Firefighters broke down the front door and quickly put out the fire, which was confined to the living room, said police Sergeant John Delaney.

Inside, they found the partially burned body of Doris Alzak, 81, seated in a chair.

Police said the death and fire were suspicious. Officials did not rule on a cause of death yesterday, pending an autopsy.

Alzak lived alone. There were no signs of a break-in, said Delaney. The incident is under investigation by Springfield police, the Fire Department Arson Squad, State Police, and the state fire marshal’s office.

If the death is ruled a homicide, it would be Springfield’s 12th of the year and the third in less than a week. An 18-year-old was shot and killed early Saturday morning, and a 16-year-old, who was shot several times July 7, died Sunday.