EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 15, 2014

Lawrence firefighters battle 2-alarm blaze

LAWRENCE — Fire broke out shortly after 8 a.m. yesterday in a vacant, boarded-up 2 1/2-story wood framed house at 30-32 Manchester St.

Every on-duty firefighter in the city was called in to fight the two-alarm blaze which caused an estimated $25,000 in property damage, according to Deputy Fire Chief Brian Murphy.

“There was so much smoke blowing across the intersection of Manchester Street and Broadway that we had zero visibility,” Murphy said.

“The smoke was so heavy, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face,” he said.

Firefighters had to break through windows and doors to get to the fire. But a quick and aggressive response contained the damage to the first floor, according to Murphy. Keeping the fire from spreading to the house next door at 26-28 Manchester St. became a major concern for firefighters as they battled the fire.

“We had to provide protective exposure to the occupied, two-family house that was about six to eight feet away from the fire building,” Murphy said.

“The flames were shooting right outside of the building and melting the vinyl siding on the occupied house. The fire crews bringing the hose line in place was key. Firefighters did an excellent job in knocking down the fire,” he said.

Lawrence firefighters remained at the scene for about two hours while Fire Department units from Andover, Lowell and Methuen provided station coverage under a mutual aid arrangement.

A firefighter was treated at the hospital and released after receiving a chest injury while hooking up the initial hose, Murphy said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. The utilities to the building were shut off at the time of the fire.

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