EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 2, 2013

Firefighters evacuate 3 buildings next to burning house

By Paul Tennant

---- — LAWRENCE — When firefighters went to a vacant, boarded-up house at 29 Summer St. to put out a fire early yesterday morning, they faced an additional challenge, according to Deputy Chief Brian Murphy.

The burning house was in close proximity to three triple-deckers, including one that was just inches away, Murphy said. All three buildings had to be evacuated, he said.

A resident of the three-family house that was about a foot away from the burning building was transported to Lawrence General Hospital to be checked out for possible injuries, Murphy said. A firefighter was also taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion and released, Murphy added.

The deputy chief noted that the firefighters, clad in their heavy turnout gear, were working under hot and humid conditions.

With the three inhabited buildings so close to the fire — another was only 6 to 8 feet away, Murphy said — the firefighters had to focus their efforts on getting the people out.

“That becomes the priority,” Murphy explained. The first alarm was sounded at 1:17 a.m.; the second alarm, bringing every firefighter on duty in the city to the scene, plus an engine from North Andover, rang at 1:27 a.m.

The siding on the house only a foot away from 29 Summer St. was damaged, Murphy said. Firefighters trained hoses on the three triple deckers to prevent the fire from spreading to them, he said.

Murphy estimated the damage to the vacant house at $75,000. It was probably built in the early 20th century, he said.

Firefighters from Andover, Methuen and Lowell covered the stations while local crews worked on Summer Street. The last engine left Summer Street at 4:25 a.m., Murphy said.