New Bedford fire forces 19 from their homes

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Residents of a New Bedford apartment building were there retrieving some belongings Thursday, less than a day after they were forced from their homes by a fire.

Flames could be seen pouring out of a fifth-floor unit at Harborview Towers on South 2nd Street Wednesday night.

“They told everyone to get out,” resident Susan Cruz recalled. “I got my med stuff, but that’s it. I brought clothes, too.”

Cruz said she lives in the apartment below where the fire started, forcing her to stay at her sister’s house overnight.

“I didn’t know what happened,” said Cruz’s sister, Sandy Bernard. “All I heard on the phone was her screaming, ‘my building is going up!'”

The Red Cross responded to the scene to provide aid for 14 adults and five children in ten different families.

Cruz said she hasn’t been told when she’ll be allowed back in her apartment. As for the damage, “mostly water and smoke,” she said, “but it knocked by bathroom ceiling down.”

No injuries were reported.

A cat was killed, according to the New Bedford Standard-Times, and a number of apartments have water damage.

Firefighters believe the fire was accidental, but the official cause remains under investigation.