EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 30, 2013

Latest Update: 5-alarm fire destroys three homes; non-working hydrants hampered response; no injuries reported

By Bill Kirk

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LAWRENCE — A five-alarm fire destroyed three homes on Hancock Street, next to the James F. Hennessey School, this afternoon.

Two of the homes, at 112 Hancock St. and 114-116 Hancock St., collapsed as the flames consumed them. Only some charred beams at the front of the houses remain standing. A third house, at 108-110 Hancock St., continues to smolder and will likely be a total loss, according to Lawrence Dep. Fire Chief John Marsh.

He said non-working fire hydrants contributed to the damage.

"If we had better water, we could have saved the third house," he said, noting that a couple of the hydrants had "no water."

The fire was initially reported shortly after 4 p.m. A girl who lived in 112 Hancock St. said she looked out her third-floor window and saw smoke and flames in the back yard. She said some couches had caught on fire.

The flames spread through leaves and other debris on the ground, and jumped from 112 Hancock St., in the middle, to the other two houses on either side, just an arms' length away.

Marsh said the heat from burning buildings melted right through the vinyl siding to the wood sheating beneath.

Firefighters are still on scene pouring water on 110 Hancock St.

Fire crews from Methuen, Haverhill, Andover, North Andover, Lowell and Dracut were called in to aid Lawrence firefighters

Three families were affected by the fire — 7 adults and 2 children who resided in the three affected buildings. No people were injured. A pet chihuahua named Bongo, 7, died in the blaze. A number of birds were saved from 110 Hancock St.

The Red Cross is on scene assisting the victims and firefighters. No firefighters were injured.

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