Essex County

Salem fire spreads to 3 homes, displaces 12 people

SALEM, Mass. — A quick-spreading fire damaged five homes Monday on Hancock Street.

The fire started around 3:30 p.m.

A doorbell camera shows the moments residents realized their house was on fire.

“I have tenants on the third floor and one of them yelled fire,” said the homeowner. “I don’t know where it started. I think it may have been on the back porch on the third floor.”

“I just heard everybody yelling get out, get out, there’s a fire,” said Tylor Carlton, who lives across the street. “After that, everyone came running out, all the dogs, all the people, with everyone yelling get out and banging on the door.”

It didn’t take long before the fire spread to every building next door.

“You can sort of see the smoke coming around the back and then 30 seconds after that you can see the flames,” said Carlton.

That made this fight that much harder for firefighters.

“Shortly after we arrived, there was a flash-over and they got everybody out of the building,” said Lt. Peter Schaeublin. “As you can see we’re coming from a lot of different streets, and we have a lot of exposure. The buildings are right on top of each other. The wind is not helping us.”

Police on the scene evacuated all of the surrounding homes. While no one was injured, there are some concerns for the animals.

“My cat wouldn’t come out with me,” said Kristin Homan, who lives next door. “He ran and hid when I tried to get him, so I’m worried about him.”

The Red Cross says more than a dozen people were displaced, including children.

“She’s really sad,” said Homan, about her daughter. “She doesn’t want all her stuff to be ruined, all the stuff she got for her birthday. She just wants to go home. I’ve been crying. I’ve had my moments.”

Firefighters are still investigating how it started.

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