EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 8, 2014

'A total inferno'

Woman, baby jump to safety as fire engulfs building

HAVERHILL — A woman who jumped from the second floor of the burning Forest Acres apartment building with a baby in her arms yesterday has undergone surgery for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

They said the child did not suffer serious injuries when the woman jumped during yesterday afternoon’s three-alarm fire, which destroyed most of the building and drew firefighters from communities throughout the region.

Police would not release the names of the woman and child last night. Police said depending on the woman’s condition today after surgery in a Boston hospital, they might release the identities.

Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said the woman jumped from a second-story patio deck at the rear of the burning building onto the grassy ground below. He said that when police and firefighters arrived at the scene, they were directed to the woman by onlookers. The rescue workers carried the victims to an ambulance to be taken to Lawrence General Hospital.

The fire became the focus of the region, with firefighters from several communities responding, crowds of tenants and others gathering to watch the flames rip through the building and smoke reported by people living miles away.

‘A total inferno’

The Red Cross was on the scene to help find housing for residents left homeless and offer them other forms of assistance, including food and clothing, as well as evaluate their physical and mental health needs.

Red Cross officials said displaced residents received money for food, clothing and shoes. Some of the residents will be staying with friends or relatives, they said.

Those who have no place to go will stay at a hotel, the Red Cross said. Red Cross volunteers served water, snacks and sandwiches to more than 100 people, including first responders, residents and members of the media.

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