Salem, MA – Early morning fire at low-income apartment block suppressed by sprinkler system; No injuries reported

Recent upgrades to an apartment building on Dow Street ensured that a fire early Monday morning at the complex did not become a tragedy.  The fire, on a fourth-floor back porch at 52-60 Dow St. in Salem’s Point neighborhood, was reported at 3:41 a.m., according to the Salem Fire Department. No one was injured, firefighters said.

The four-story, 20-unit brick building is owned by the North Shore Community Development Coalition. The nonprofit renovated it in the last couple of years, not long after a 2014 fire damaged some of the units there. During the renovation, a fire sprinkler system was installed. Salem fire Deputy Chief Dennis Levasseur said the sprinklers helped keep the flames at bay Monday until firefighters arrived.  “No one was displaced, and the sprinkler system we put in last year put the fire out right away and didn’t allow it to spread to the rest of the building,” said Mickey Northcutt, North Shore CDC executive director.

No other units in the building were affected, since the fire took place outside, Levasseur said.  The North Shore CDC develops and rehabilitates low-income housing in distressed neighborhoods needing investment. The organization owns properties throughout the North Shore, several of which are in Salem. The organization didn’t own the 52-60 Dow St. building back in 2014 during the last fire, though it was under contract to operate it, according to Northcutt.  Further details on the fire, including the cause, remain under investigation. Ten people live in the apartment, including seven children, and Northcutt declined to discuss further details Monday afternoon, saying that the organization is “still assessing the situation.”

The unit wasn’t damaged by the fire to the point that it isn’t habitable, Levasseur said, but conditions there might otherwise make living in the unit a challenge.  “They had a bunch of trash and clothing and bags,” Levasseur said. “That’s kind of what the issue was on the porch. They have some other issues.”

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