Fire Damages Elderly Housing in Pepperell, Massachusetts

PEPPERELL, Mass. (AP) -- Eight residents of a low-income elderly housing complex were taken to area hospitals after a fire damaged the complex Wednesday afternoon.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said most of those hospitalized were being treated for smoke inhalation and that none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Residents were being housed Wednesday night in other town housing authority facilities or with families and friends, town administrator Robert Hanson said.

Coan said the blaze was under investigation Wednesday night. He said it was too early to determine how the fire was caused, or if it was accidental or suspicious.

The fire ''caused extensive fire damage to several of the units and water and smoke damage to many others,'' Coan said.

Hanson estimated that about half of the 51 townhouse-style units at Babbitassett Village on Foster Street appeared to have escaped serious damage.

The fire, which began around 4 p.m. at the three-story building, was declared out about three hours later. Firefighters from a dozen cities and towns assisted Pepperell firefighters.