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Firefighters Battle Apartment Building Blaze In Salem

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SALEM (CBS) – Firefighters in Salem were on the scene of a four alarm fire Friday afternoon.

Flames could be seen shooting out of the roof of a three-story apartment building on Washington Square. The square is next to the historic town green and buildings there are very close together. Firefighters said one of the concerns they had was that the fire would spread to one of the nearby buildings and they ordered an evacuation of nearby buildings.

“The wind was a little bit of a deterrent today. Made it hard to aim your master streams into the building and get to where you wanted to be,” said Salem fire chief David Cody.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports.

A woman who lived in the apartment was distraught that her daughter’s ashes, which were in an urn in her apartment, would be lost in the fire. Her daughter died six years ago.

“The fireman got it for me,” Heidi Lewis said, holding the urn firefighters got from her home. “I would have gone in there if I had to, but no I didn’t (think I’d see it again). I would have waited for them to leave and I would have gone up and got it. It’s all I have of her, and her pictures, they’re all ruined. I know they are.”

Chief Cody said the fire started on the third floor in the rear of the building. He said there was a firewall that went down the center of the building and that kept a lot of the fire on one side of the building.

It’s not the first time that building suffered damage from fire. Chief Cody says it was renovated 12 years ago after another fire tore through the building.

Crews from nearby communities were also responding to the blaze.

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