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Sunday Morning Attic Fire Displaces Salem Family

Salem fire officials are still investigating a fire that broke out on the third floor a Lafayette Street apartment building early Sunday morning.

Salem firefighters extinguished a fire early Sunday morning that broke out on the third floor of a Lafayette Street apartment building and left a family of three looking for somewhere to stay.

At about 4:32 a.m., local police and firefighters responded to 187 Lafayette St. after a tenant returning home from work reported a "burning smell" coming from the third floor, according to Deputy Fire Chief Glen Beaudet.

It took local firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish the fire, which extended up into the building's attic, Beaudet said.

Beaudet was among the first to take a look around the building and said he was surprised to find that one of the upstairs electrical panels was red hot. 

"(The tenant) took us up to look around and I was shocked to see that the panel was already orange all the way up to the ceiling," Beaudet said. "Another 15 to 20 minutes and we would have been dealing with quite a fire. It was already smoldering"

The three-story apartment building suffered severe smoke and water damage and "a lot of the walls had to be opened" while fighting the fire.

American Red Cross volunteers were called to the scene to assist a local family of three displaced by the fire. They were reportedly the only tenants of the three-family home.

The Red Cross reportedly provided a hotel stay at The Hawthorne Hotel, as well as emergency funds for food and clothing. Volunteers also provided the family with blankets and Comfort Kits, which include items like toiletries.

Before being allowed back into their home, Beaudet said the family will have to first get the green light from an electrical inspector, which he suspects could take several weeks.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by local fire officials, Beaudet said.

Salem Patch will be posting additional information as it becomes available.

Interested in helping out the family displaced by the fire? Let us know.

Ray DePaula January 14, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Will help with what i can, if anyone wants my help.
ken January 14, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I know this one: Tenant pays for heat but not electricity=space heaters in every room=FIRE.
discusting January 19, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Crazy.. they just moved in their too!! funny how new owners and previous tenant just moved out and new tenant is family of new owners and the place goes up and starts on the TOP FLOOR.. HMM?? WEIRD!!

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