NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 3, 2013

Fire leaves 5 homeless

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — SALISBURY - Five people were forced out of their Bridge Street home yesterday morning after fire ripped through the third floor of the 19th century house. There were no injuries reported after the two-alarm blaze which sent flames shooting through third-floor windows and roof beginning shortly after 8:30 a.m. yesterday.

Firefighters from Newburyport, Amesbury, Seabrook, Hampton, N.H. and Newbury were among those assisting local firefighters combat the blaze. The fire was extinguished within an hour but firefighters remained at the scene well into the morning.

“They did a great job, all the guys did a great job,” Salisbury fire Chief Richard Souliotis said.

The busy road was closed to traffic for more than two hours during and after the fire. Motorists looking to enter Salisbury Square were forced to turn around and seek alternate routes.

Local firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire but Souliotis said it appears a heating unit may have been involved. There were no injuries reported and all five residents were able to exit the building safely.

As firefighters inspected the house, the half dozen or so occupants kept warm by staying inside a BMW sedan parked next to the building. At one point one of the victims, wearing a T-shirt, pants and socks, was seen leaving the car in search of warmer clothes. Fire officials notified the American Red Cross which was expected to send an agent to the scene to assist the displaced residents.

Souliotis said the third floor was a total loss but the house itself could be saved. He estimated the fire caused more than $100,000 in damage.

The pink four-bedroom house, built in 1850 was last assessed at $227,400 and is owned by Luisa Pereira of 21 Bridge Road Spendthrift Realty Nominee Trust.