EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 26, 2012

Washington St. fire leaves 10 residents homeless

Fire burns house next door to home where 84-year-old woman perished earlier this year

By Mark E. Vogler mvogler@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — It was just seven months ago that Susan Pullino watched with horror as fire engulfed the house next door at 477 Washington St., killing one tenant.

Her own misfortune rekindled those memories last night as a two-alarm fire burned through the top floor of the wood-frame two and a half story house at 475 Washington St. that she shares with nine other people.

“I lost everything, but at least everybody got out alive,” said Pullino, 45, who shares the second floor apartment with her daughter and grandson.

“I went back in for my dogs, but my cats didn’t make it out,” she said.

Pullino was in bed, watching television when the fire broke out on the third floor at about 11:30 p.m.

“I lived here for six years and everything is gone. I’m going to have to pay to get new school books and computers. That’s why you get renter’s insurance. I was thinking about getting it. But it’s too late now,” she said. Pulllino and her daughter are both students at Northern Essex Community College.

This was her second close encounter with fire this year. On March 7, she witnessed the fire that claimed the life of Phyllis Lamot, 84, who died in her first floor apartment at 477 Washington St. Some witnesses say she should have survived the blaze.

“I was the one who called the Fire Department and started yelling for people to get out. That was a fiasco,” she said.

Dustin Munroe, 38, looked with agony toward the roof of 475 Washington Street last night, lamenting the loss of all his belongings.

“I just moved here a few weeks ago and I lost everything I owned,” said Munroe, who shares the third floor apartment with a roommate.

“We just remodeled the apartment with new flooring and carpeting,” said Munroe, a house painter.

“I had gone to bed and kept hearing noises, then found out the house was on fire,” Munroe said. ““It was scary, waking up to this,” he said.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Brown credited Engine One with “making a strong interior attack” to quickly knock down the fire and contain the structural damage, but noted the house “is totally uninhabitable right now.”

“There’s heavy water damage on the first and second floor and heavy fire and smoke damage on the second and third floors,” Brown said. He estimated the overall damage to be at least $100,000.

Cause of the fire remain under investigation last night.