13 people displaced in three-alarm fire in Lawrence

Thirteen residents were displaced, but no one was seriously injured, in a three-alarm fire on Forest Street in Lawrence overnight, according to Fire Chief Brian Moriarty.

Lawrence officials received a report of a fire in an electrical outlet at about 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, Moriarty said in a phone interview.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the eaves of the two-family home at 43 and 45 Forest St. and soon discovered a raging blaze in the attic, he said. They realized later that flames were also burning intensely inside the structure’s walls.


“The fire had quite a bit of an advance start,” Moriarty said.

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Crews were able to control the blaze but couldn’t get into the third floor to extinguish hot spots there because of concerns the structure was too unstable, he said.

The fire flared up later, he said, because those hot spots had not been addressed. As of 9 a.m. firefighters were still extinguishing small blazes, but the fire was mostly contained.

“It’s well under control; it’s just going to smolder,” Moriarty said.

Thirteen residents escaped without injury; one firefighter slipped on the ice but declined to visit a hospital and appeared to be fine, Moriarty said.


Moriarty estimated the damage at more than $300,000. The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced with housing and other necessities, he said.

Firefighters encountered some issues with ice because of the extreme cold overnight, Moriarty said, but he said the conditions were “nothing that we’re not used to. It’s firefighting in New England. They don’t worry about that in Florida.”

The cause of the fire appears to be electrical, Moriarty said, but an investigation is ongoing.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.