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Family of fire victim sets up benefit fund

NORTHAMPTON — The family of fire victim Barbara Marshall has established a benefit fund to help her recover.

Marshall, 62, was burned in a fire at her River Run Condominiums home early Saturday morning that gutted the inside of her unit and burned the exterior of the building. She was first taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and later Saturday was transferred to the Massachusetts General Hospital Burn Center in Boston.

A hospital spokeswoman reported Tuesday that Marshall remained in serious condition. Her condition was upgraded Monday from critical to serious.

Joanne O’Connor of Easthampton, Marshall’s sister, said the fund has been set up to help her rebuild after she gets out of the hospital. “She lost everything,” including furniture and clothing, in the fire, said O’Connor, 60. Checks made out to the “Barbara Marshall Recovery Fund” can be mailed or dropped off at any branch of Florence Savings Bank. Cash may also be dropped off. Marshall, who grew up in Northampton, is one of 10 brothers and sisters who all still live in the Valley. She works as an aide at John F. Kennedy Middle School.

O’Connor said Tuesday afternoon that her sister was in an induced coma and that her treatment included skin grafts. O’Connor said she expects her sister will be conscious Wednesday when she plans to visit — “Hopefully we’ll be talking to her.”

Marshall is expected to be in the hospital for at least three weeks and family members will take turns visiting her, O’Connor said. “Thank God there’s enough of us to do that,” she added.

Marshall was the only person injured in the fire. Its cause remains under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office and the Northampton police and fire departments. Officials said they had not determined the cause as of Tuesday evening, because they are waiting to interview Marshall.

Gena Mangiaratti can be reached at gmangiaratti@gazettenet.com.

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