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Three-alarm fire rips through triple-decker home in Lynn

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A three-alarm fire tore through a triple-decker home in Lynn, leaving four people homeless.

Lynn Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan said crews responding to the fire, first reported shortly before 10:40 a.m. Saturday, found “heavy fire” in the basement upon arrival, and were met with the occupants of the 13 Valley Ave. home, who had self-evacuated after hearing the building’s smoke detectors.

George Huggins, 65, was watching TV in his first-floor apartment when he heard the smoke alarm go off, alerting him to the potential danger.

Huggins, a six-year resident of the building, said his back door was full of smoke. He walked down to the basement, where he saw the fire, he said.

“I just saw the flames and took off,” he said. “I wasn’t hanging around.”

Ronald Lewis, 61, said he was listening to a radio program when the fire broke out. Shortly after hearing the smoke detector go off, he was alerted to the blaze by his roommate.

“That’s when he discovered the flames and said, ‘Get out, the cellar’s on fire,’” Lewis said of Huggins.

Both men said they had nowhere to go for the night, and were waiting for temporary housing assistance from the Red Cross.

Sullivan said this “shows the true value of having working smoke detectors in the building.” There were no injuries to firefighters or residents.

The fire had progressed to the second floor, Sullivan said at approximately 12:20 p.m., nearly two hours after crews first responded.

Firefighters struck a second alarm 15 minutes after it was first reported and then struck a third alarm shortly before noon, which brought more help from surrounding fire departments to the Highlands neighborhood.

The American Red Cross was on scene assisting four displaced residents who were home when the fire broke out.

Sullivan said the extent of the damage to the building was unclear, but its occupants wouldn’t be allowed back into their home “as of tonight.”

Sullivan said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Property records list the assessed value of the building and land at 13 Valley Ave. at $591,700. Built around 1900, the three-family home is owned by Robert E. Newhall.

George Huggins, left, and Ronald Lewis were displaced after a three-alarm fire damaged their Lynn home on Saturday. (Boston Herald/Gayla Cawley)
George Huggins, left, and Ronald Lewis were displaced after a three-alarm fire damaged their Lynn home on Saturday. (Boston Herald/Gayla Cawley)

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