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Modified 28-Aug-12
Created 28-Aug-12
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A five-alarm fire that ripped through three multifamily houses in the Lower Belvidere neighborhood and it appears to have been started by children playing with a lighter.

Fire Chief Edward Pitta said last night investigators believe the fire was sparked when children were playing with a lighter in an alley behind a vacant home at 90 Chestnut St. and a triple-decker home at 19-21 Willow St. The fire spread across those houses to a third multifamily house at 84-86 Chestnut St., creating a billow of smoke that could be seen miles away.

The fire broke out sometime around 3:30 pm and was finally brought under control shortly after 5:00pm. Mutual aid responded to the fire from as far away as Lawrence, Methuen, Nashua and Pelham, N.H., Wilmington, Burlington and Haverhill, Tyngsboro, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Billerica, Dracut and Westford.

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