Contact Us
Make My Homepage

7 dead in Massachusetts apartment fire

 

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — An intense fire ravaged a three-story apartment building before dawn Thursday, killing four adults and three children, forcing tenants to jump or hand their children to safety, and leading to dramatic rescues from upper floors.

Firefighters work on the top floor inside a burned three-story apartment and business building in Lowell, Mass.
Firefighters work on the top floor inside a burned three-story apartment and business building in Lowell, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The victims in this former mill city about 25 miles northwest of Boston were all found in units on the top floor of the building, which had a liquor store on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, fire officials said. Nine people were hospitalized with injuries not considered life threatening.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said authorities are looking into witness reports that the blaze was preceded by an explosion that sounded like fireworks.

Randy Perry, who lives in a building next door, said he looked out his window at 4 a.m. and saw people gathered outside the building as it was consumed by flames.

“I was shocked at how fast the fire moved from one end of the building to the other,” he said.

Authorities say 48 people lived in the building, which sustained heavy damage. The roof entirely burned away, with the outer walls charred and the siding melted. Firefighters had to evacuate at one point as the roof gave way.

Neighbor Sarin Chun said she awoke to screams and saw someone hand a child out a window to another person on the street.

 

Fire officials observe the scene of a burned three-story apartment and business building in Lowell, Mass
Fire officials observe the scene of a burned three-story apartment and business building in Lowell, Mass (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Witnesses said tenants jumped out of windows. Several people had to be rescued from upper floors.

A police officer on routine patrol was the first to report the fire, while several tenants ran about 100 yards down the street to a fire station to sound the alarm, Fire Chief Edward Pitta said. But the building was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said she is “deeply concerned” by reports from witnesses that no fire alarms sounded. The building did not have a sprinkler system but was not required to, Pitta said. It did have an alarm system, and whether that was working will be part of the investigation.

“It’s a tragic day for the city of Lowell,” Mayor Rodney Elliott said.

The Red Cross is assisting displaced tenants, and the city is accepting donations of clothing and other essentials, Elliott said. A relief fund has been set up at the Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in the city.

A chaplain for the fire department, Rev. Paul Clifford, said chaplains were offering what comfort they could to people who escaped.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


Best of the Web


Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!