Early Morning House Fire in the Highlands

As I shuffled down Pine Street shortly after 5 am on this morning’s run, two Lowell Fire trucks came racing up from Cupples Square, their sirens and air horns screaming. They both turned in front of me onto Hawthorn Street (yes, there’s no “e” at the end). As I continued on, I could hear more sirens in the distance and also noted that no cars were parked outside the Pine Street Fire Station, a sure indicator that facility was closed overnight for staffing reasons. I turned onto Stevens and headed towards Chelmsford. Passing St Margarets Church, I began smelling smoke, so I turned onto Parker and immediately saw a police cruiser blocking the road a hundred yards away.

It was a house fire at 385 Parker. No flames were visible, but black smoke was streaming out of an upstairs window. Four Lowell Fire trucks were on the scene; some firefighters were already inside, others were suiting up to head inside, still others were connecting a hose to the nearby hydrant. An ambulance attendant led a young woman by the arm away from the house, holding an oxygen mask over her face. Through the open window and door, a chirping smoke alarm was audible and the glow of flashlights could be seen through second story windows as firefighters conducted their search. Neighbors in all manner of dress stood on nearby sidewalks, watching with concern. Fortunately, no one seemed to be seriously injured and the damage appeared to be mostly from smoke. Still it was a reminder of the importance of smoke detectors and fire safety.

6 Responses to Early Morning House Fire in the Highlands

  1. Jason says:

    Actually a second person was rescued by firefighters from this home, in addition to the woman you saw. I don’t know about severity of inuries, but the person did need to be carried out after being found inside and taken to the hospital. It was very close to a disaster.

    The station was closed. No cars and the sign hung on the front are the only indications. This is the second time in one week the Pine Street station has been closed and there has been a fire in the neighborhood. The three alarm fire on Stevens St early the morning of Memorial Day being the other.

    Thanks for reporting it, nothing was in the Sun’s breaking news on either fire.

  2. Paul@01852 says:

    By 6:30 when I passed by the only evidence left was a puddle in the street and a National Grid truck with his warning lights on.

  3. Jason says:

    Talked to one of the guys that was there. The basement was heavily damaged. What helped save the rest of the house was the failure of an overhead water pipe from the intense heat, which helped keep some of the fire from extending to the upper floors. Almost a sprinkler head type effect. Not the first time it’s ever happened, but I’d rather have my station open. Once again, just lucky.

  4. DickH says:

    What’s with all the house fires in the Highlands? One on Stevens Street on Memorial Day, this one on Parker Street last week, and today’s on Westford (near Smith). Is it a coincidence or is there a common thread?

  5. Jason says:

    At least one of them was caused by careless disposal of smoking materials. One is under investigation, but likely accidental according to media reports. I am not aware of the the investigation status of the other. I do not think there is any correlation between them other that proximity.

    The Highlands has not been the only neighborhood with fires though there was yet another Friday night on E. Pine St. There has been a recent uptick in fires over the last month, with fires near UML North Campus (2) in Centralville (1) and Belvidere (3). You could say its unusual because by and large the busiest time of year for fires is normally the winter, but sometimes it just happens that way. Winter tends to be busier because of the increased use of heating appliances, electricity and candles (esp. holidays), but also simply because more people stay inside their homes and cook, etc.

    The Westford St fire was the first I’m aware of recently that was in a bank owned vacant property, I would assume through foreclosure. If these buildings continue to be vacant with absentee landlords we could be in for more trouble. Keeping them secured and structurally safe is a never ending battle in a tough economy. When kids are out of school with nothing to do, these buildings are a magnet. In winter the homeless get in and try to keep warm.

  6. Jason says:

    The male victim of this fire succumbed to his injuries earlier this week. His obit was in the Sun. Yet again the station is closed today. 4th fire death in Lowell this year to date.