LAWRENCE, Mass. — A raging blaze tore through a cluster of businesses in downtown Lawrence early Friday morning, destroying a liquor store and a bakery.
Crews responding to a report of a fire in the area of Essex and Newbury streets found flames shooting from a building that houses multiple businesses and thick smoke consuming the neighborhood.
It didn’t take long for the fire to consume Sweeney’s Liquors, that has stood for decades, and the neighboring Sweet Grace Heavenly Cakes.
“It’s like I cannot describe that moment (when you see the fire) because you want to go in there and stop the fire,” said Danaris Mazara, owner, Sweet Grace Heavenly Cakes. She
Mazara started the cake shop a decade ago and employs 20 people who she considers family.
“It’s been very difficult, but I feel the support from the community,” Mazara added.
The back of the building collapsed, and crews attacked the fire from above. Firefighters from Lawrence and neighboring communities could be seen dousing the raging fire with water for several hours.
The bulk of the fire was knocked down before 6:30 a.m. but crews were still battling hot spots as the sun came up.
Thick smoke filled the sky drawing people wanting to help. Boston 25 flew a drone over the scene, which showed a massive emergency response.
David Sikora maneuvered through the firetrucks lining Essex Street to bring muffins to the firefighters.
“I was shocked these businesses are pillars of the community here. It will be a loss to the area,” Sikora said.
State Representatives Francisco Paulino also owns several businesses on the strip and was already working to find a temporary home for the cake business.
“We are going to be working to provide assistance to both business owners, so they recover,” Paulino said.
Engulfed with hugs from her employees, Mazara vowed to rebuild, saying, “We know we will come back very strong.”
No one was inside the building when the fire started, and no firefighters were injured.
Fire officials believe the blaze began at the back of the liquor store. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
Fire at Sweeney’s Liquors on Essex Street in #Lawrence #boston25 pic.twitter.com/wqO4tc6aGR— Katie Brace (@KatieBraceNews) March 17, 2023
Massive fire in Lawrence on Essex St. Avoid the area and follow @boston25 for updates. pic.twitter.com/w13FPMDzev— Ken Lucas (@one_tall_photog) March 17, 2023
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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