By Staff

LAWRENCE (CBS) – A five-alarm fire in Lawrence last Sunday that destroyed three multi-family homes and damaged others was caused by the “improper disposal of smoking materials”, according to Massachusetts Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey.

In a press release, Ostroskey said the fire started in a carport located at the back of a home on 14 Saratoga Street.

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“This is the time of year when smoking causes so many fires. A smoldering cigarette can quickly be fanned to life on a windy day. Until you can quit, be a responsible smoker. Put it out. All the way. Every time,” Ostroskey stated.

A five-alarm fire in Lawrence destroyed three multi-family homes on Sunday. (WBZ-TV)

The flames later spread to two more homes, including one on Bennington Street, before firefighters could get to the scene. Soon after firefighters arrived, three more homes were damaged by the fire. In total, the fire reached three houses on both Saratoga and Bennington Street.

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A car and a motorcycle were also destroyed in the flames.

While damages are estimated at around $1 million, only one woman was taken to the hospital with injuries, and no firefighters were hurt putting out the flames.

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“I want to thank the fire department for their diligent effort in putting out the fire so quickly and efficiently,” Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said. “This fire was devastating, but it could have been a lot worse without the leadership and quick thinking of [Lawrence] Fire Chief Brian Moriarty and the Lawrence Fire Department in addition to the mutual aid received from the fire departments of 24 other communities.” Staff