PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Heavy fire and smoke pour from 22 West Baltimore St. at the scene of a five-alarm fire in Lynn on New Year’s Day.
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNN – More than 60 residents were left homeless after a five-alarm fire raged through a 26-unit West Baltimore Street apartment building early New Year’s Day.
Lynn District Fire Chief Stephen Archer said eight families and a total of 30 people sought shelter from the Red Cross. All city companies were dispatched to the fire at 22 West Baltimore St., which started at 7:36 a.m.
The victims warmed up and rested at a reunification center at City Hall. Archer said they would later be taken to Lynn Classical High School before being placed into hotels by the Red Cross.
According to Archer, two firefighters suffered minor injuries and one resident required firefighter assistance to get out of the building. There were no civilian injuries. Residents of the closest neighboring building on the street were also asked to evacuate as a precaution.
Hasib Lolic, a first-floor resident, said he fled shortly after he noticed smoke and was unsure of what could have started the fire.
Archer said a clear cause of the fire has not yet been identified. Crews were evacuated from the building following a partial roof collapse, which prevented officials from getting back inside.
Archer said firefighters were preparing to go back into the building in the afternoon. He said the fire has caused extensive damage to the structure and that it’s too early to determine whether it can be salvaged and more information will be available after the city building inspector has a chance to review the site.
“It’s crazy,” said Peggy Jimenez, one of a crowd of neighbors who watched the flames from across the street.
John Dove said he could see the fire from his home at Revere Beach.
Tudor Street resident Joey Fournier first noticed the flames around 8:30 a.m. while driving home. An hour later, he said the flames were much smaller.
“They’re doing a great job containing it,” said Fournier. “What a (expletive) way to ring in the New Year.”
Those wishing to help families displaced by the fire can drop off donations, including adult, child and baby clothes, shoes and diapers, at Lynn Arts, 25 Exchange St. on Monday, Jan. 2.
Displaced residents are invited to a transitional assistance meeting on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Public Health Office of City Hall.
Leah Dearborn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.