LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - A pregnant woman just days away from giving birth raced to alert her neighbors to a raging fire at a Lawrence row house on Thursday night.

Shaila Alicea says she was practicing her birthing techniques when she smelled smoke just before 8 p.m. She stepped onto the back porch of her house on Shawsheen Court and saw flames rising.

“I’m about to give birth next week. I’m being induced on Tuesday, so that was the goal to do some breathing exercises and next thing you know I’m breathing out of the house, running,” she recalled.

Alicea, along with other neighbors including Freddy Collazo, ran from door to door to tell people to get out.

“I was banging, knocking, doing everything I could to make sure everyone was safe,” Collazo said.

Firefighters battled the fast-moving flames as they dealt with water supply issues, according to Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty.

“This fire had a very large head start on us. It was already burning through the roof,” he said. “We did encounter a lot of problems with water. This section of the city, we did not have good water.”

There were no injuries reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

“The investigation is going to a long time because so much of the building was burnt,” Moriarty said. “Unless we have somebody who can give us an eye witness account, we may not ever figure it out.”

Firefighters continued to monitor hot spots into Friday morning.

(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox