New Bedford

'Cooking Mishap' Likely Started Thanksgiving Day Blaze in New Bedford: Fire Officials

One woman was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries

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A cooking mess involving a deep fryer led to a massive New Bedford fire on Thursday.

More than two dozen people were left homeless on Thanksgiving after flames tore through three multi-family homes in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

"I just saw smoke and flames coming out of the building," witness Michael Meagher of New Bedford said.

The fire happened at a residence on Washburn Street just before 10 a.m. and quickly spread to two other structures, authorities said. The blaze was likely started by a "cooking mishap" involving a deep fryer, according to fire officials.

"You can't underestimate the danger of cooking. People are amateurs. Some people are, like myself included," New Bedford Acting Fire Chief Scott Kruger said. "You go out there and cook today — things don't always go well."

Crews from several communities spent hours dousing the flames at the three homes as thick smoke filled several blocks.

"It was pouring out of here. You couldn't see up the street — yeah. The smoke was that bad. It was thick," Meagher recalled.

At least one woman was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

Twenty-seven people living in the three homes were able to make it out safely but are now without a place to stay, authorities said. The American Red Cross is assisting those residents.

Fire officials said while they doused the flames at the Washburn Street fire, they received at least three other calls for cooking-related incidents.

The exact extent of the damage caused by the fire remains unclear.