EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 1, 2012

Candle set up in case of power outage ignites fire in Lawrence


"There was heavy damage in the basement and walls in the rear section of all three floors," Murphy said. "Crews contained it all to the rear section of the house. It was a difficult battle but they did an excellent job."

The occupants of the building escaped and there were no reported injuries to residents or firefighters.

Kat Powers, communications director for the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, said volunteers were on scene throughout the incident assisting residents of the house.

She said the Red Cross is providing the three families who lived in the building help with shelter by paying for hotel stays, as well as providing funds for food. She said the families living there were able to get their clothes out, so the Red Cross didn't have to provide clothing. They did provide them with blankets to ward off the chill during the fire.

Murphy said the last firefighting crew had cleared the scene by 7 a.m. and the board-up crews arrived shortly after to secure the property. Later in the morning, firefighter crews returned to pick up some tools they'd left behind, when one of them spied smoke. They quickly doused a "hot-spot," according to Dep. Chief Daniel Kennedy.

The cause of the fire is accidental, Murphy said.

It doesn't appear that the house sustained widespread damage. Moreta said that since her mother bought the property four or five years ago they've done a lot of work, putting up new siding and refinishing floors.

She said the fire badly damaged all the bathrooms along the back wall of the property, as well as one adjoining room. Otherwise, the apartments are all in pretty good shape, she said.

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