Family displaced in overnight Tower Hill blaze

·2 min read

Jul. 14—LAWRENCE — A family living in the city's Tower Hill neighborhood was displaced by an overnight fire.

A fire in a duplex at 17-19 Jennings St. was reported just after 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Firefighters were met by smoke visible from outside as well as a heavy smoke condition on one side of the duplex inside, said Deputy Fire John McInnis.

He said they initially had a "hard time finding the seat of the fire" inside of the house due to the smoke.

Working quickly with an aggressive interior attack, firefighters tracked the blaze to a closet in a rear bedroom, McInnis said.

The two-alarm fire was knocked down within 45 minutes, he said.

City and fire inspectors were called to the house to investigate.

While not believed to be suspicious, the cause of the fire remained under investigation Thursday.

One firefighter suffered from a respiratory issue but is expected to make a full recovery. No one living in the house was injured, McInnis said.

The Red Cross was contacted to help the displaced family.

And just three blocks away, Rev. Chris Casey, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, opened the church and provided cold drinks and access to amenities.

"That was a very nice gesture on the church's part," McInnis said.

Casey, in a Facebook post at 1 a.m. Thursday, remarked on the firefighters' work.

"Our firefighters never cease to amaze me," he wrote.

Built in 1930, the home is owned by Carmen and Santos Rivera and is currently valued at $451,300, according to city assessing records.

Firefighters from Dracut, Haverhill, Lowell and North Andover responded as mutual aid. Lawrence police provided traffic control around the fire scene. And Lawrence General Hospital paramedics provided cooling rehab to firefighters. McInnis noted firefighters were rotated in and out of the duplex due to high temperatures overnight.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.