LAWRENCE (CBS) — One person was seriously injured and nearly a dozen people were displaced after a fire tore through a three-story home early Monday morning.
First-floor resident Jerry Billett was startled awake by the fire alarm in the middle of the night–and quickly realized his home was on fire and filling with smoke.
“The first thing on my mind was just get everyone out of the house,” Billett told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler.
The flames had started on the second floor, and were spreading to the third. Billett got his dad and grandparents out, then went back in to get the others.
“I ran upstairs and started banging on the door, couldn’t wake them up,” Billett said. “Got to the third floor, there’s a baby on the third floor. Woke them up, got them out.”
He went back to the second floor and kept banging until the people inside woke up.
One man who lived on the second floor suffered burn injuries and was taken from the scene by medical helicopter.
“His feet and his arms were burned, at least third-degree burns,” Billett said.
“There were burn injuries and I think some lacerations, I really don’t know the extent, he was whisked away pretty quickly by the ambulance,” said Deputy Chief Wilson.
Officials called the fire at the house on Fairmont Street a ‘stubborn’ one, and at first faced some difficulties fighting the flames.
“We ran into a few what we call dead hydrants nearby,” said Lawrence Deputy Fire Chief Robert Wilson. “It didn’t really impede on our progress fighting the fire, we had a fair hydrant to work off of until we got a good hydrant a little further away.”
In addition, crews had to work hard to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring buildings.
The Red Cross was on scene assisting the residents who were displaced.
It was not yet clear if the building could be saved. Heavy damage could be seen to the second floor Monday.
Billett said his belongings can be replaced, and he’s just glad everyone made it out alive.
“My worst fear is what could have happened,” he said. “A lot of people could have died in their sleep last night.”
He added that, without working alarms, things could have been much worse.
“Make sure your alarms work–it saves lives,” said Billett. “And don’t panic during a fire, just get out.”
The cause of the fire was still under investigation.