Seven-alarm blaze leaves 18 Mass. families displaced

A fire in Lawrence, Mass., on Friday night left at least 18 families homeless after the blaze reached seven alarms. Photo courtesy Office of Mayor Brian De Peña/Facebook

April 16 (UPI) — A major fire in a northern Massachusetts city has left at least 18 families displaced after reaching seven alarms, officials said Saturday.

The fire broke out late Friday evening at the rear of a building in Lawrence, Mass., located about 30 miles north of Boston, the office of Mayor Brian De Peña said in a statement.

The blaze quickly spread to multiple other buildings, officials said.

Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty told reporters video footage shows the fire may have started on the third-floor porch of one of the buildings.

Heavy winds caused the fire to rapidly spread from structure to structure with at least five buildings sustaining fire damage. Several others were damaged by exposure.

No firefighters were injured and no civilians were injured or reported missing, Moriarty said, adding that no pets were injured or reported missing.

“We were very quick to bang out alarms to get our mutual aid here,” he said. “Multiple chiefs have come to help us out and it’s been a great display of firefighter camaraderie.”

Around 50 people were evacuated and at least two of the buildings have been “completely destroyed,” the mayor’s office said.

“Today their occupants will be able to go back after the city fire department authorizes it,” the statement reads. “Thank you to everybody who was on the scene last night assisting our neighbors. Thank you in advance.”

The American Red Cross of Massachusetts said in a statement its volunteers were assisting at least 15 of the families affected by the fire. The aid group said that those affected were gathered at the Lawrence Senior Center.

Photos and videos of the scene shared on social media by the North Andover Fire Department showed firefighters battling the blaze as it tore through the buildings.

Investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services are working to determine the cause of the blaze.


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