Woburn 3-alarm fire that displaced 12 ruled arson by state officials

Woburn 3-alarm fire that displaced 12 ruled arson by state officials

WOBURN, Mass. — A three-alarm fire in Woburn that displaced 12 residents early Friday morning has been ruled as arson, according to a release from the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Peter J. Ostroskey, the State Fire Marshal, announced with Woburn Fire Chief Stephen Adgate and Woburn Police Chief Robert F. Rufo that the blaze had been intentionally set. Firefighters in Woburn responded to the blaze at 15 Sturgis Street around 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning.

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All 12 people inside the house, including five children, made it out safely as the fire completely engulfed the home. A shed behind the triple-decker was also on fire.

Anderson Fanfan says his wife and two children were able to get out of the burning home safely but with only the clothes on their backs.

"You have to be pretty low to do that to someone," Fanfan said. "You got kids there."

The homeowner's daughter, who has lived in building for about 40 years, says she believes the fire started in the basement.

Kathleen English and her children woke up to the sound of smoke detectors going off.

"Oh my God you couldn't see, you couldn’t see," said English. "It was just gray smoke. Just because I lived there I knew where to go to get my mother, 81, out of bed."

According to Chief Adgate, one firefighter suffered minor injuries. The chief also said fire crews first found the fire coming out of the cellar window.

"The construction of the house probably allowed the fire to shoot up through the void spaces and at one point there was heavy fire on all three floors," said Fire Chief Adgate.

Anyone with information on the blaze is asked to call the anonymous statewide Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229. The Arson Watch Reward Program is offering rewards of up to $5,000 for information that can help investigators.

"I was the most upset out of everybody when I came because I didn’t know what was going on," English said. "I just knew my son was there and my family were there, and they're helpless in that situation. You don't know that is ever going to happen, especially in the middle of the night where everybody's sleeping."

Woburn Police and Fire are investigating the incident along with State Police.