A man died in a three-alarm fire Friday afternoon at a multifamily apartment building in Groveland—the first fatal fire in the town since 1966.
Groveland firefighters were dispatched just after 3 p.m. after receiving a 911 call reporting a fire at 2 Manor Drive, a four-unit apartment building. Witnesses also reported hearing an explosion which may be traced to a residential oxygen tank. The name of the victim, who was in a first-floor apartment, was not immediately released pending formal identification by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, according to Groveland Fire Chief Robert E. Valentine, Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen, state Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.
The nearest Groveland engine, stationed nearby on Main Street, was on a medical call at the time, leading to Groveland Fire to immediately request mutual aid from the West Newbury and Georgetown Fire Departments. Groveland Police were the first to arrive on scene and immediately learned people were trapped in the rear of the building on the second floor.
Groveland police and firefighters worked together to rescue those occupants from the second floor using a ground ladder. A witness said at least one resident was treated on scene and a dog was rescued.
Other communities providing mutual aid were Amesbury, Haverhill, Methuen, Newbury, Newburyport and Rowley Fire Departments. Boxford and North Andover Fire Departments covered Groveland stations. PrideStar EMS was also on scene.
The point of origin and cause of the fire are being jointly investigated by the Groveland Fire and Police Department, State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the state Fire Marshal’s office and State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office.