LAWRENCE (CBS) — 18 surrounding communities sent help as fire crews battled a large fire on 118 Bennington Street in Lawrence.

Firefighters responded to the blaze on Sunday afternoon in 90-degree heat and gusty winds.

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Eight buildings were damaged, according to Lawrence Fire Chief Brian Moriarty. Three were completely destroyed.

Officials said that all of the buildings involved were evacuated.

Two people needed to be rescued; one by a firefighter and one by a civilian, Ignacio Duran.

“My first instinct was just open that door, and I kicked it open and there she was laying flat on her bed,” Duran recalled.

He had to knock down two doors to get to her.

“She looked scary, and I could tell she [thought] I was going to her hurt her or something, and I’m like ‘no, look: fire, smoke.’ because they tell me she’s handicapped.”

Duran described to WBZ NewsRadio, “I just stuck my hand in there and picked her up. How? I don’t know. But I got her. I have a mother too, and she obviously is a mother.”

Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

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Another firefighter and one civilian were treated for minor injuries. There were no serious injuries.

Moriarty said, “It’s already 90 degrees out, high humidity, and then you put on 100-pounds of gear, and you go to a fire that’s thousands of degrees and raging — it tires you out very fast.”

Over $1 million was done in damage to about 15 apartments, estimated Moriarty.

The Red Cross is helping shelter around 50 people that were displaced in a nearby school.

Electricity was temporarily cut from the neighborhood. Around 9 p.m. officials announced that it would return gradually as it was safe to do so.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

One neighbor told WBZ NewsRadio that a grill could have started it.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe 

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