, Salem, MA

December 7, 2012

Senior complex evacuated after fire

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — BEVERLY — Residents were evacuated from a Federal Street senior complex after a kitchen fire last night.

The Fire Department responded to the McLean building at 22 Federal St. after a report of a blaze in Apartment 311 on the third floor around 7:40 p.m.

Although the fire was quickly extinguished, the second and third floors of the building suffered extensive water damage due to sprinkler activation, according to radio reports. Responding firefighters also encountered heavy smoke and used fans to ventilate the building.

The fire was caused by combustibles stored too close to an operating gas stovetop, according to a press release from Deputy Chief Peter O’Connor. Damage is estimated at more than $30,000.

Displaced residents were temporarily sheltered from the cold at St. Mary School at 13 Chapman St. after police contacted a school employee. An officer said “a couple dozen” residents were there around 9 p.m., but that he expected many would be allowed back into their homes later in the evening.

Some occupants were moved to open apartments, while others went with family members, according to the press release.

“The incident had potential to be far worse,” said Capt. Jeff Sirois, the officer in charge. “Due to the efforts of all responders, there were no serious injuries ... I am proud of everyone that responded to the scene tonight for their hard work.”

The fire damage was confined to Apartment 311, but approximately eight units on the second and third floors were unable to be occupied until repairs could be made, O’Connor said.

A building inspector was called to the scene, as were the Red Cross, Northeast Regional Ambulance, the Board of Health and a Housing Authority employee.

Firefighters from Manchester, Salem and Danvers were called in to provide station coverage during the incident.

The Maclean building is a five-story apartment building with 57 units.

It was the third fire of the day in the city. Firefighters put out two blazes in North Beverly in the early afternoon.