LYNN — Firefighters pulled 15 people from the windows of a burning building Saturday morning. The daring rescue came as fire raged through the three-story building on Kingsley Terrace.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the three-alarm blaze. No residents were hurt in the ordeal, but at least 23 were left homeless, according to Lynn District Fire Chief Steve Archer.
Third-floor resident Kimberly Dobbins fled the building but her neighbors had to climb out a window and down a ladder with help from firefighters.
“I heard glass break. I looked out and all I saw was flames,” Dobbins said.
The American Red Cross was on the scene Saturday morning helping residents who sheltered in a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus parked a block from the fire scene.
Firefighters converged on Kingsley Terrace, located just off the intersection of Chestnut and Union Streets, after an alarm was sounded at 5:27 a.m., said Archer.
“As they made entry into the buildings, our crews found conditions worsening rapidly. We quickly realized we had trapped residents,” Archer said.
Firefighters flung ladders against the building walls as residents retreated from smoke-filled hallways and bunched around windows. They climbed down the ladders with assistance from firefighters.
“The guys did a fantastic job,” Archer said.
The fire was concentrated in 4 Kingsley which Archer said is separated by a firewall from 2 Kingsley. Twelve apartments are in each building and neighboring 1 and 3 Kingsley Terrace each have 12 units.
Residents Kathleen Reynolds and Delores Parsons opened their third-floor apartment door to the smell of smoke and made their way back through their apartment to a fire escape.
“We started yelling for help,” Reynolds said.
The pair were able to enter a neighboring apartment from the fire escape landing and flee to safety. Arnaldo Rivera, who said his wife lives on Kingsley Terrace, said he helped a firefighter and another man rescue a disabled resident from a first-floor apartment.
Archer did not initially know the fire’s cause or origin but said the fire left 4 Kingsley Terrace uninhabitable. He estimated about 40 people live in 2 and 4 Kingsley and said 2 Kingsley Terrace residents who left their apartments should be able to return to them late Saturday.
Dobbins said she will probably seek shelter with her mother, Lynn resident Sherrie Dobbins. But she worried if her cat, “Coco,” survived the blaze. Reynolds also feared her cats may have not survived the fire.
She huddled Saturday morning next to the MBTA bus with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders as a Red Cross worker interviewed residents.
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” Reynolds said.