LOWELL, Mass. — One person is dead and three people were seriously injured after a fast-moving house fire Wednesday morning in Lowell, the state Fire Marshals’ office confirmed.
The fire began overnight in a multi-family home at 98 Westford St. Video captured by a resident who lives there showed intense flames shooting from the roof and spread to the homes next door.
The victim was identified by the Middlesex County DA’s Office as a 77-year-old man who lived in the building. The DA’s Office also confirmed that three other people, two women and one man, were transported to Boston hospitals with serious injuries.
“I got woken up and my friend, she said, ‘the house is on fire,’” said Julie Collentro, who said she lived in the second floor of the apartment.
Collentro said the smoke was thick and covered her apartment. She couldn’t tell which door to go through but eventually made it to a window with her 2-year-old daughter, Kehlani. A police officer was on the ground and she asked if she could throw her daughter to them and did safely. Collentro jumped out of the same window.
“Officers Leang Chhor and Joshua Delisle observed an adult female holding a baby in a second-floor window emanating smoke,” the Middlesex DA’s Office wrote in its release on the fire. “The officers told the female to drop the baby to them, which she did, and were able to catch the baby safely. The female then jumped from the window and was caught safely by Officer Chhor and Officer Warren Greenhalgh.”
“I know some people didn’t make it out of that building so we’re just really thankful that we did,” Collentro added.
Her family set up a GoFundMe page after losing their home and possessions.
Fire officials battled hotspots all morning. The roof of the home eventually collapsed from the damage.
Lowell Fire Chief Phillip Charron said there were multiple rescues carried out in frigid temperatures.
“One of our greatest challenges in the fire service is making those rescues and getting people out safely; that taxes everybody right to their limit,” Charron said.
A total of 25 people were displaced as a result of the fire, according to the DA. About five hours after the blaze broke out, firefighters rescued a dog from the building.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a crane was brought in to remove the chimney and gables for fire investigators. A cause had not been determined by late afternoon.
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