EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 11, 2013

Lawrence fire leaves 18 homeless

LAWRENCE – Eighteen people living an Bennington Street multi-family home were left homeless by a late-night fire Saturday, firefighters said.

No injuries were reported after when a fire broke out in the first floor ceiling of the house, which was not licensed as a boarding or rooming house. Nonetheless, the kitchen was split into the two rooms and locks, including deadbolts, were on each of the individual rooms in the house, said Fire Chief Jack Bergeron.

Some residents were also sleeping in a “shed located off a rear hallway.”

He said “multiple code violations” were detected the home.

The Red Cross was called to assist the displaced residents. Some residents were uncooperative with the Red Cross, however, Bergeron said.

The three-story wood framed building, currently valued at $180,000, is owned by Samuel Velez Ortiz, according to city records.

Bergeron said firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze.

Code and fire inspectors are expected to meet with the owner today, Bergeron said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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