Two multi-family homes that were destroyed after a wind-fueled fire tore through them Friday night will very likely be demolished on either Tuesday or Wednesday, the acting mayor said.
The massive fire burned five triple-deckers on Crosby Street, leaving 73 tenants from 17 different families homeless on Easter weekend, including a dozen children.
The city is working to find temporary housing for the families, but is running into some challenges.
“These people have lost everything, and when you’ve lost everything you’re going to need some help,” said Acting Mayor Marc Laplante. “Now, the issue here is finding them some more permanent housing.”
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The city placed some of the tenants in a hotel in nearby Andover, but there wasn’t enough room there for everyone.
At least two of the other homes that caught fire are salvageable, and tenants will likely be able to return sometime this week, Laplante said.
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Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency officials will meet with tenants on Wednesday to explain various public services that may help them.
The Red Cross is providing assistance to the occupants of the damaged homes, and local community groups are helping to coordinate donations.
Fire officials said they believe the fire started on the third-floor balcony of a home in Lawrence before spreading to five other nearby residences. They said high winds helped the fire spread quickly in the densely settled neighborhood.
All residents were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported. No pets were reported missing or injured either.
"An Easter miracle,'' Laplante said. "It's amazing that we were able to walk away from this.''
Crews from fire departments in Massachusetts and New Hampshire worked for more than three hours to extinguish the fire. It’s still unclear what caused the massive blaze.
The Associated Press contributed to this report