Fourteen people at least temporarily lost their homes when a fire broke out in a second-floor bedroom on Merrimack Place.
All residents evacuated the building and no one was injured, according to fire Deputy Chief Jeffrey Akstin, who commanded operations at the scene.
The single-alarm fire was reported by phone Friday around 6:30 p.m. Engines 1, 2 and 3, Ladder 1 and the rescue vehicle responded. Firefighters brought the blaze under control within about a half-hour, Akstin said.
The brick building, located behind the A-1 Deli, 92 Merrimack St., has seven condominiums. No one was home in the condominium where the fire started, according to Deputy Chief Eric Tarpey, who was investigating the cause of the blaze Friday night.
Detective Sean Scharneck of the Police Department joined him in the probe.
The sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading to the rest of the building, which is a few hundred feet from the Merrimack River, Tarpey said.
Residents will be allowed to retrieve their belongings from their homes, but they will not be permitted to stay there until the city Building Department inspects the property, according to Tarpey.
From the outside, the structure, which Tarpey estimated to be more than 100 years old, does not appear to be seriously damaged.
The American Red Cross helped five of the residents find temporary shelter.
While Haverhill firefighters battled the blaze, crews from Lawrence, Methuen and Groveland staffed Haverhill's stations on Water and High streets and 16th Avenue.