More Than Two Dozen Homeless After Methuen Fire

(Photograph courtesy of Methuen Police Department.)

Residents of a 24-unit apartment building in Methuen are temporarily displaced after a three-alarm fire Thursday night gutted the building and prompted the rescue of a firefighter while two others were injured.

Crews first responded at 9:06 p.m., Thursday, at the three-story brick apartment building at 11 Ashton Place, off Chelmsford Street, according to Methuen Deputy Fire Chief Charles Ripley. He told WHAV crews forced their way into a locked second floor apartment where smoke was discovered coming from inside. One woman was escorted out by crews while the other residents evacuated themselves. While working the blaze, a “mayday” call was issued when Methuen Fire Lt. Thomas Curtis fell through a weakened floor to his waist. However, Ripley said, he was able to raise himself up out of the hole and, having escaped injury, was able to remain on scene.

Two other firefighters were injured and transported to a local hospital, Ripley added. He declined to release their identities. One was treated for a shoulder injury while the other was treated for a back injury. Both were later released.

Mutual assistance was provided by Salem, N.H., fire crews at the scene. Coverage at Methuen fire stations, during the blaze, came from Andover, Dracut, Lawrence and North Andover fire departments.  A Red Cross unit also provided assistance to an undetermined number of displaced residents with temporary shelter. Two of the 24 apartment units were unoccupied, Ripley said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.