Massive fire in Lawrence displaces at least 8 families

LAWRENCE, Mass. — Firefighters are still working to determine the cause of a fire that sent a Shawsheen Court condominium complex in Lawrence up in flames.

The Lawrence fire chief Brian Moriarty said at least eight families and 16 people were displaced and that there were no injuries according to the preliminary fire investigation.

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Boston 25 News spoke with a woman nine months pregnant and giving birth to her baby next week. She was home practicing breathing exercises on YouTube when she started smelling smoke.

Thinking it was a barbecue, she went back to her breathing exercises. She said 10 minutes later there was smoke that started coming up from below them. She got her 1-year-old, 9-year-old, and her fiancé and ran out the house, banging on every door they could on the way out.

She said, once out, they could see their house collapse with her brand new nursery inside.

“My home is done,” said Jessica Rodriguez. “The whole house is done. There’s no house.”

Firefighters said there were two major problems at the outset. The fire had a head start, and drawing sufficient water from the hydrants that were accessible was difficult due to the age of the water infrastructure in this part of the city.

Several units share walls in the complex, two of which burned to the ground. There are other buildings approximately fifty feet from the burned section that appear undamaged.

Early Friday morning, fire crews with Engine 1 could be seen spraying hotspots.

Moriarty said Thursday night that the fire investigation would take time and that the State Fire Marshal’s office was working with Lawrence to determine the fire’s cause.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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