LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) -
Emergency crews spent much of Wednesday night battling a fire inside a triple-decker in Lawrence.
"There was smoke coming out of the walls, they could hear crackling,” Lawrence Deputy Fire Chief John Marsh said.
Within minutes the fire raced up the walls, causing the roof to collapse, and flames to shoot through the home.
All three families, 17 people including four children were able to make it out of the home safely.
One woman was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but should be okay.
"It’s brutal, from the end of the building to now the beginning of the building. It's crazy, for 3 hours now it's been going,” a neighbor said.
Fire officials says tar and gravel in the roof continue to smolder, making it a difficult fire to put out.
"There's not a real attic in a home, a three decker like this, a space of 3 to 4 feet. And it gets between the ceiling and the roof and it will just roll around in there and to get at it is kind of tough,” Marsh said.
Investigators say it appears to be an electrical fire.
The Red Cross is helping the families.
"They got out, but unfortunately the place is gone, it's history. Between all the water and fire it's gone,” a neighbor said.
One crew remained on the scene overnight to make sure the hot spots were kept under control.
WHDH TV 7NBC WLVI TV CW56
Sunbeam Television Corp
7 Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114