BEVERLY — The cleanup continued at a downtown senior apartment complex and a North Beverly motel yesterday, a day after firefighters battled three fires within a span of eight hours.
Eight people were displaced from the McLean building, a Beverly Housing Authority property at 22 Federal St., fire Chief Paul Cotter said.
One couple that uses wheelchairs was moved into another unit in the same building. The American Red Cross found temporary residences for some, while others are staying with family members, Cotter said.
Firefighters were maintaining a 24-hour watch on the five-story building because the fire had disabled the fire alarm and sprinkler system, he said.
“We’re keeping firefighters there day and night with radios,” Cotter said.
Meanwhile, the Beverly Garden Suites motel on Route 1A was shut down after firefighters had to tear up ceilings, walls and floors in most of the rooms to fight a fire that spread inside a wall.
“There’s still no power and no water, or walls and ceilings,” said office manager Nancy Victorine. “It’s a mess but things are moving along pretty good.”
Victorine was hoping part of the motel could reopen in a week or two.
Cotter said the motel does not have a sprinkler system. He said the fire department would advocate for a new fire alarm and sprinkler system in the building as part of the repairs.
“Being a hotel a lot of things were grandfathered,” he said. “We always try to push for an update when there’s an extensive renovation.”
Fire officials said all three fires, including one at a home at 15 Dodge St., were accidental. The motel fire was caused by workers using a torch to fix a pipe. The McLean fire was caused by combustibles too close to a gas stove. The Dodge Street fire was caused when a wooden beam next to a fireplace heated up.
Cotter said it was fortunate that people were home at all three locations and were able to report the fires and get out safely. The chief said his department also benefited greatly from the help of surrounding fire departments.
“If we didn’t have mutual aid we would have been in quite a bit of trouble,” he said. “In the beginning stages of all these fires we didn’t have enough firefighters on scene. They were all dangerous fires. It looks like we did it with ease, but we really didn’t. There were a lot of things that worked out in our favor.”
Cotter praised the work of his crews, who were basically battling fires from noontime on.
“They did an unbelievable job,” he said. “They had a lot to do, but that’s what they’re there to do. They feel like they accomplished something.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.