EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 4, 2013

Late-night fire started in walls, leaves 15 homeless

By Dustin Luca

---- — LAWRENCE — Up to 15 people are homeless following a two-alarm fire in a 3-family house at 466 Hampshire St. last night. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but appears to be electrical.

Andover and Methuen crews helped Lawrence firefighters knock down the two-alarm blaze. There were no injuries or fatalities, according to Fire Deputy Chief Dan Kennedy.

The department first received a call for a kitchen fire at 9:18 p.m. When crews arrived, they saw smoke coming out of the three-story dwelling and struck a second alarm, according to Kennedy.

After searching the second and third floors, crews couldn't find any evidence of a kitchen fire. Moments later, they found fire coming out of the walls on the second floor, Kennedy said.

As crews started knocking down walls and putting out the fire, more flames were found in the ceiling and the walls on the third floor, according to Kennedy.

It took approximately 30 minutes to knock down the blaze. It was a "hard stop, considering it was on more than one floor and the ceilings," Kennedy said.

Damage is estimated to be at least $100,000. The cause is still under investigation but Kennedy said this morning that investigators are "leaning toward" it being electrical.

"It was probably a wiring problem," he said. "The fire originated around an outlet."

He said the fire "was inside the walls. This was not a kitchen fire."