LAWRENCE, Mass. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after a massive fire tore through a 12-unit apartment building in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday, leaving at least 16 without a home.
Firefighters responding to the 3-alarm blaze around 8 p.m. on Shawsheen Court learned flames were already shooting from the roof before their arrival.
The roof later collapsed and one resident, Shaila Alicea, told reporters on scene she is nine months pregnant and due to give birth next week.
She said she was home practicing breathing exercises on YouTube when she started smelling smoke, thinking it was someone burning something on a barbeque outside.
“When we went and looked, there was fire coming from downstairs on to our porch, and we knew we had to get out, so, we got the kids, we got my cat, and we started knocking on doors, we started knocking, ringing, screaming, ‘fire!’ and we thankfully got a lot of people out,” she recalled.
Fire officials say no one was injured, but there are reports of some missing pets.
The fire chief says the investigation will take a long time because so much of the building is burnt, adding unless there is someone to give an eyewitness account, they may never be able to figure out the cause.