A kitchen fire in a Methuen apartment triggered the building’s sprinkler system Saturday and destroyed 11 units in total, displacing several from the converted mill building at 52 Osgood St., fire officials said.
No residents or first responders were injured, Methuen Deputy Fire Chief Dan Donahue said. The Red Cross of Massachusetts is assisting those displaced in their search for housing.
The building is located behind the central fire station, and Donahue said he was first on the scene with crews responding to the alarm at 5:02 p.m. As he entered the building, a first-floor tenant came up and said water was dripping into their apartment.
Donahue’s first thought was it could be a burst pipe or an overflowing bathtub, he said. No signs of fire were seen from the outside, but when his crew reached the building’s fifth floor, they found a hallway filled with smoke.
A woman with two teenage children were home in the unit where the fire started, Donahue said. A pan of oil caught fire on the kitchen stove, he said, and the flames spread to the cabinets above.
The fire was contained to the one apartment, but the sprinklers left excessive water damage to the unit and those on the four floors below.
Donahue said 11 units were damaged and all had tenants living in them. The Red Cross of Massachusetts said in a tweet that “more than 10 adults and an unknown number of children are reportedly displaced.”
Donahue estimated the number of people displaced is much higher considering the number of damaged units.
“I would think the number is closer to at least 25 people,” he said.