Metro

‘It was a very difficult night’ to fight a Lowell fire that displaced 25 on Thanksgiving

Lowell, MA., 11/22/2018, An iced-over bicycle lays on the sidewalk on Shaw Street the moring after a Thanksgiving night fire burned three houses on and around Arthur, Shaw and Sagamore Street. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
An iced-over bicycle sat on the sidewalk on Shaw Street the moring after a Thanksgiving night fire burned that three houses in Lowell.

Firefighters in Lowell faced all kinds of problems when they tried to put out a three-alarm blaze that displaced 25 people on Thanksgiving night, Lowell Fire Chief Jeffrey Winward said.

Winward said the fire started shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday and destroyed the houses at 22 Arthur St. and 35 Shaw St. in Lowell. A third house at 20 Arthur St. was damaged by fire, smoke, and water, and at least two SUVs were damaged, he said.

Lowell, MA., 11/22/2018, Fire investigators interview residents and neighbors of a Thanksgiving night fire that burned three houses on and around Arthur Street, Shaw and Sagamore Streets. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff
Fire investigators interviewed residents and neighbors.

“It was a very difficult night to fight a fire this large,” Winward said in an e-mail. “Extreme cold and wind created many problems — frozen hydrants, frozen hose lines, frozen ladder pipes, the entire neighborhood was covered in ice, apparatus were covered in ice, and firefighters were covered in ice.”

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Winward estimated the fire caused $850,000 in damage. He said one firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation at Lowell General Hospital and was later released, and the 25 people who were displaced did not suffer any injuries. The Red Cross assisted the displaced tenants, and one dog remains missing, he said.

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Winward said the cause and origin of the fire are under investigation. He expressed thanks to the other departments who provided assistance Thursday night and credited the firefighters for keeping the blaze contained to those three buildings.

“Firefighters did an excellent job stopping the fire from spreading to other houses in the densely populated neighborhood,” he said.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.