No injuries in fire at home of Haverhill School Committee member's grandparents

MIKE LABELLA/Staff photoFirefighters work at the scene of a blaze at a single-family home at 165 Elliott St., across from the campus of Northern Essex Community College. 

No injuries were reported after firefighters from Haverhill and several surrounding communities were called to battle a blaze at a home on Elliott Street across from the campus of Northern Essex Community College. 

First responders were dispatched to 165 Elliott St. on Wednesday of last week around 7:30 p.m. for a fire that started in the basement. Trinity EMS was also on scene, along with National Grid, which shut off power to the home.

Fire Chief William Laliberty said the residents were home at the time and called 911 after they smelled smoke.

"The residents were home, smelled smoke and found smoke in the basement," Laliberty said. "This fire was up high along the floorboards and the exterior wall so it was hard to 'dig out.' It was a quick knock-down, but overall it took about an hour (to fight)." 

Damage was done to the basement up into the ceiling and living room, according to the fire chief. There was also damage to water pipes and electrical wiring. 

Residents Merton and Patricia Howard escaped without injury, Laliberty said. Their grandson, School Committee member Scott Wood, met them at the scene Wednesday night and praised the quick response of the Fire Department.

"They're shaken. It's traumatizing," Wood said. "Everything in the house can be fixed and replaced, but I'm glad they got out safely. I'm thankful for the quick response of the Haverhill Fire Department." 

The Howards plan to stay with relatives until they can be let back into their home, Wood said.

An investigation into the fire continues, Laliberty said, though he believes it to be accidental.


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