At least 17 people were left homeless by a massive, three-alarm blaze at a private condo complex in Lawrence that was rendered a total loss by the flames, which were already raging when firefighters arrived, officials said Friday.
Someone pulled a fire box around 7:46 p.m. Thursday, providing the first notification to Lawrence firefighters about the fire at 30 Shawsheen Court, a complex of 12 separate townhouse units, according to Fire Chief Brian Moriarty.
The building was “heavily involved” when firefighters arrived three to four minutes after the notification.
The condo building had working smoke detectors, Moriarty said. Eleven of the building’s 12 units were occupied, and all of its residents made it out safely. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the one building, which suffered $3 million in damage and is a total loss. The Red Cross tweeted it was assisting displaced residents.
Sabrina Baggio, the city’s communications director, said the city is aware of 17 residents who were displaced but acknowledged it is “probably more.” She said residents of two of the 11 occupied units were placed in hotels Thursday evening, five people in total.
“We are actively working with our homelessness coordinator to make sure they have housing,” she said. The city will continue working with its nonprofit partners to assist residents, Baggio said.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, according to Moriarty. A spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office had no update on the investigation Friday morning.
Images of the condo posted to Twitter on Friday morning show little remaining of the home — only one wall remains standing, badly damaged. Video shows wisps of smoke emanating from some of the debris.