Three Fires Hit Mass. City, 35 Left Homeless

July 18--LAWRENCE -- The three fires that struck the city Wednesday displaced 35 people, according to the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.

Twenty-eight of them were able to find shelter with friends and relatives, Red Cross spokeswoman Dawn Leaks said. The Red Cross placed the remaining victims, a family of seven, in a hotel after they spent a night at Robert Frost Middle School at 33 Hamlet St., she said.

Overheated wires in a three-family house at 42 Andover St. displaced nine people. That incident was reported at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

About a half hour later, a fire broke out on the second floor of 55 Cambridge St. That blaze left nine adults and three children homeless, Leaks said. While firefighters contained the damage to Unit 55 of the building, all 12 residents of the two-family house at 55-57 Cambridge St. were displaced.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the third fire of the day did extensive damage to a third-floor apartment in a 30-unit building at 12 Diamond St. That blaze drove 14 people from their homes, Leaks said.

American Red Cross disaster relief volunteers, led by Deb Duxbury, helped victims at all three fires. Twenty-six of the total of 35 displaced people were able to find shelter with friends and relatives Wednesday night, Leaks said.

The remaining nine people spent the night at Frost Middle School, she said. The School Department has been very generous about allowing disaster victims to stay in its buildings, acting fire Chief John Marsh said.

Two of the nine people who stayed at Frost School were able to find housing yesterday morning, Leaks said. The Red Cross arranged to have the family of seven -- four adults and three children -- stay at a hotel, she said.

The temporary shelter at Frost School was closed at 9 a.m. yesterday.

The fires at 55 Cambridge St. and 12 Diamond St. remain under investigation.

Copyright 2014 - The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.