LOWELL, Mass. — Authorities say several people are unaccounted for after an early morning fire in a Lowell apartment building.
A spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal says three to five people are unaccounted for after the fire in the three-story building on Branch Street.
The three-alarm blaze was reported at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
Deputy Fire Chief Patrick McCabe says firefighters are going through the building looking for victims, a task made more difficult by heavy damage.
He says 48 people lived in the building, which had businesses on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.
Several people had to be rescued from upper floors and taken to the hospital, but he didn’t have an exact count.
Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says the cause remains under investigation.
“If those unaccounted are in that building, this is a recovery effort at this time,” Coan said.
Here are social media reports on the fire:
Witness told me "babies were being dropped out the window" Lowell Fire says 5 people missing on Branch St pic.twitter.com/874k5op5VC— David Robichaud (@RobiWBZ) July 10, 2014
Five People Missing After Fire In Lowell Apartment Building: http://t.co/OWTDCZgZVi— WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston) July 10, 2014