By Paul Tennant
---- — LAWRENCE — A 10-year-old boy suffered burns and a dozen people were left homeless by a fire at 19 Bennington St. yesterday afternoon.
Deputy fire Chief John Marsh said he did not know what degree the burns were, but did not believe them to be life-threatening. The boy was taken to a hospital by ambulance, he said.
The fire, reported at 5:30 p.m., started in the cellar and caused smoke damage to the three-family house, Marsh said. The cause is being investigated, he said.
Outwardly, the building did not appear to have sustained much damage and Marsh said the structure is repairable. Marsh said he ordered that the electricity be shut off because there were exposed wires in the dwelling.
He estimated that the landlord, Carlos Amparo, might be able to get the damage repaired for $5,000. He’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to repair the damaged wires, he said.
Because six of the people living in the house are children, their parents were “adamant” that they not spend the night in the dark, the deputy chief said. The Red Cross provided the tenants with temporary shelter.
Julianne Peacetree, one of the Red Cross volunteers who went to Bennington Street last night, said her organization has made arrangements with several hotels in the area that are available to house people displaced by fires or other disasters.
The Red Cross provides “basic human needs” to victims, including shelter and food, she said.
“We’re giving what we’re giving because of our donors,” Peacetree said.
Amparo, who resides in the building, said the house is covered by insurance. Five people live on the first floor, five on the second floor and two on the third, he said.
Engine 5, Ladder 5 and the rescue vehicle responded from the Central Fire Station on Lowell Street, while Engine 7, the first apparatus to arrive, came from the Park Street station, Marsh said. The firefighters achieved a “quick knockdown” in about 10 minutes and were at the scene for roughly an hour, he said.