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7 dead in Massachusetts apartment fire

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 10, 2014 at 11:40 a.m.

LOWELL, Mass. — Seven people died in a fast-moving Massachusetts apartment fire in the predawn hours Thursday, officials said.

All seven victims were found in units on the top floor of the three-story building that had businesses on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, fire officials said.

"It's a tragic day for the city of Lowell," Mayor Rodney Elliott said.

Witnesses said tenants were jumping out of windows. Several people had to be rescued from upper floors and taken to the hospital. Neither the exact number nor the condition of those taken to the hospital was immediately known.

A police officer on routine patrol was the first to report the fire just before 4 a.m., while several tenants ran about 100 yards down the street to the nearest fire station to sound the alarm, Fire Chief Edward Pitta said. But the building was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived. The fire eventually went to three alarms.

The victims' names were not immediately made public.

The cause and origin of the blaze remain under investigation, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said.

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