The fire was the equivalent of a 4 or 5-alarm blaze, because other communities had to be called in to cover other parts of the city, according to Bergeron.
Police Officer Chris Bussey said he was concerned about several juveniles living in the home.
“They had soot on their faces like they had been eating smoke,” he said. “And they were barefoot. A couple people jumped out from the second floor.”
They were all taken to the hospital to get checked out, he said.
“My concern was for one young girl, with all that soot on her face, she had to be breathing a lot of smoke,” he said. “I was worried about smoke inhalation. That was one of the fastest moving house fires I have ever seen.”
Next door neighbor Nader Hamda, 29, who lives on the second floor of 15 Lafayette Ave, immediately adjacent to burning building, said he was woken up by screaming.
“I was sleeping, and i woke up and heard kids screaming and crying,” he said. “I looked out the window and everything was on fire. In 10 minutes, the house was burned.”
Firefighters from nearly a dozen area cities and towns are helping at the scene and providing back-up assistance at the central and outlying stations.
Kat Powers, Communications Director of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, said two teams were dispatched to the intersection of Lafayette and Pere Marquette avenues early today to assist victims affected by the fire.
"There are people who have been put out by smoke damage," Powers said. "People in the Fire Department told us that people in five buildings were all affected and they are all from this one Lafayette Avenue event. Our whole Merrimack Valley team is on alert. We will send more teams to Lawrence if we need help."