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April 1, 2013

Leaders call for hydrant repairs

LAWRENCE — Two city councilors are calling for a review of all city fire hydrants after water problems contributed to a relentless five-alarm blaze that destroyed three homes on Hancock Street Saturday.

As smoke and flames rolled out of a home at 112 Hancock St., firefighting efforts were hampered by non-working fire hydrants and hydrants with poor water pressure, firefighters said.

The fierce blaze that ignited at 4 p.m. destroyed that house and those located on both sides of it. Lawrence firefighters with help from departments throughout the Merrimack Valley battled the fire well into the night.

Yesterday, crews were called back to Hancock Street at 9 a.m. when the fire rekindled. The repeat blaze was knocked back down in 30 minutes. The charred remains of a home at 110 Hancock St. were also ordered boarded up for safety reasons after residents tried to get into the rubble and retrieve belongings, said fire Capt. Frank Martin.

The cause of the fast-moving blaze remained under investigation last night, Martin said.

Nobody was injured in the fire but two pets, a dog and a bird, perished in the blaze, firefighters said.

Daniel Rivera, an at-large city councilor and mayoral candidate, called for an emergency review of the fire hydrants across the city. In light of the devastating fire, Rivera said every hydrant in the city should be tested to see if it works adequately or requires repair.

In an email, Rivera asked City Council President Frank Moran to place an emergency item on tomorrow night’s city council agenda. Fire Chief Jack Bergeron along with water department officials will be asked to attend, he said.

“This should be a no-brainer for us to get that going, to figure out what’s working and what isn’t ... There is no reason this should be a last-minute type of dance,” Rivera said.

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