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Woburn House Blaze ‘Intentionally Set,’ Fire Officials Say

One resident told NBC10 Boston they were worried one of their relatives, who has a history of mental illness, may be responsible for the fire

The Friday morning blaze at a multi-family home in Woburn, Massachusetts, was intentionally set, according to fire officials. Police are also looking for a person of interest in connection to the 3-alarm fire.

Firefighters arrived on the scene just after 5 a.m. on Sturgis Street, where flames were ripping through the triple-decker home.

Resident Katherine English said she woke up and got everyone out of the building that her 81-year-old mother owns.

"Nobody knew where the smoke was coming from," English recalled.

Firefighters were ordered to get out of the structure at one point and continued their battle as an exterior effort because conditions in the home became too dangerous.

Homes next door to the fire were evacuated as a precaution.

One person was injured, but the injuries were not life threatening.

The structure, which housed 12 people, is a total loss as a result of the blaze, the Woburn Fire Department said.

"My neighbor gave me these clothes. We left our phones up there," said Anderson Fanfan, a resident of the home.

Officials are investigating the fire as suspicious but haven't said much else.

Authorities were looking to speak to one of the residents of the home and are in the process of getting a warrant to search the property, sources told NBC10 Boston.

One resident told NBC10 Boston they were worried one of their relatives, who has a history of mental illness, may be responsible for the fire.

"It's been a long-time problem. Unfortunately when you're sick in the head you do things. But we never thought this would happen," Jennifer English said.

Family members said no one has seen or heard from the man since before the fire broke out.

"It's just hard to know my family member could have done something like that," Jennifer English said.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the state's Arson Watch Reward Program for anyone with information on the fire. Residents can call local police or fire or the statewide Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229.

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