Wind-driven blaze rips through home that caught fire during Merrimack Valley gas disaster

LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - A massive wind-driven blaze destroyed a vacant home in Lawrence on Friday that previously went up in flames in September during the Merrimack Valley gas disaster.

Crews responding to a report of a fire at 21 Brookfield St. around 4 p.m. found flames shooting from the single-family home and thick smoke overtaking the neighborhood, officials said.

Photos from the scene showed a large emergency response as crews battled the raging inferno.

The roof of the home completely burned away and most of the side panels were melted off. Fire officials say it’s a total loss.

Neighborhood resident Paul Tessier told 7News that he had to evacuate the area because fierce winds were pushing the flames toward his home.

“It took about 45 minutes before the fire department got here,” he said. “I went in to get my dogs and I could feel the heat inside my house. It was that hot.”

Columbia Gas said the home has been without gas service since a series of fires and explosions rocked Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover on Sept. 13.

A technician who was sent to the home confirmed the fire had nothing to do with natural gas, the utility said in a series of tweets.

Neighborhood residents are being urged to avoid the area as firefighters overhaul the ravaged home.

Fire officials are calling the blaze “suspicious” and they are looking into whether arson is to blame.

There were no reported injuries.


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