EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 20, 2012

Stubborn basement fire displaces Andover family

ANDOVER — Firefighters battled a stubborn house fire yesterday afternoon on Haverhill Street that started in the basement and spread to portions of the first and second floors.

A woman who was home at the time with her three children called 911 at 11:52 a.m. after smoke was seen coming from the dining room floor, fire Chief Michael Mansfield said.

“She opened the basement door and saw black acrid smoke,” Mansfield said. “She immediately left with her three kids.”

The home at 84 Haverhill St. was built in 1922 and its construction posed some challenges for firefighters, Mansfield said.

Since the structure had no “fire stoppers” built into the framework, the fire spread to some areas of the first floor and worked its way up to the second floor near the chimney, Mansfield said.

Firefighters had to open the walls up on the first and second floors to make sure it hadn’t spread further, he said.He called the response an “impressive interior attack.”

“It is very challenging because you are trying to deploy personnel appropriately to make sure the walls were being opened up to make sure we stay ahead of the fire,” Mansfield said.

While no flames were seen shooting from the exterior of the home, heavy smoke was pouring from the rear at times. A portion of Route 133 was shut down by police as firefighters battled the blaze.

Firefighters remained at the scene until after 1:30 p.m. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, Mansfield said. There was extensive water and smoke damage throughout the house and the home was deemed uninhabitable, Mansfield said.

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