Nine tenants, 3 cats escape from multi-family fire in New Bedford

Five adults, four children and three cats were displaced following a fire at a multi-family in New Bedford on Saturday morning, according to the fire department.

No injuries were reported.

Shortly before 5 a.m., several 911 calls were made reporting a structure fire at 14 Sidney St., a three-story wood-frame building.

A preliminary investigation found that the cause of the fire is accidental and originated from an electrical event in a third-floor dining area.

The tenants were alerted to the fire by working smoke alarms, fire officials said.

First floor tenants saw flames in the unoccupied third floor apartment through a window on a third floor porch. They led a 94-year-old resident on the second floor to safety, along with their family and three cats.

New Bedford District Fire Chief Scott Gomes said a working fire originated from the third floor with extension into the attic and exterior wall.

Fire crews advanced hose lines into the third floor and attic along with ventilation to extinguish the fire. Additional crews also prevented damage to the second- and first-floor apartments with salvage covers.

The displaced residents are being assisted by the American Red Cross. The 94-year-old tenant has lived in the second floor apartment for 65 years, fire officials said. She told fire investigators that when she moved in, she was paying $8 a week for rent.

The fire remains under investigation.

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