EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 7, 2014

Lawrence fire leaves 15 homeless this morning

LAWRENCE – The American Red Cross this morning is assisting 15 people who were forced out of their home overnight by a 3-alarm fire.

A resident at 13 Wells St. ran to a fire alarm street box at 3 a.m. to report the fire, said Lawrence Deputy Fire Chief John McInnis.

Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from all three floors of the triple-decker, he said.

"There was heavy fire coming from the first, second and third floors," McInnis said.

One resident suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital for treatment. McInnis said the building was likely a total loss with damage estimated at $300,000.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, McInnis said.

Firefighters from Lowell, Methuen, Andover, North Andover and Salem, N.H., were called to the fire scene this morning to help Lawrence crews. Firefighters from Dracut and Tewksbury covered city stations while Lawrence firefighters were tied up, McInnis said.

Wells Street runs south from Park Street to the Spicket River in North Lawrence.

The 3-alarm blaze on Wells Street followed an electrical fire at 376 Osgood St. earlier this morning.

McInnis said a fire at that residential building started in an electrical meter. Numerous residents there were also displaced by the fire but had friends and relatives they could stay with, McInnis said.

And yesterday, the same shift of firefighters, Group 3, was involved in the evacuation of nearby homes after chemicals and weapons were found in a home at 200 Exchange St.

Fearing a possible bomb making operation or potentially explosive situation, police and firefighters immediately called for hazardous material experts. Nearly four hours later, authorities declared the neighborhood safe.

More coming on this story in tomorrow's print edition of the Eagle-Tribune and at eagletribune.com.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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