Firefighters were battle a three-alarm fire on Arthur and Shaw streets in Lowell this evening amid bitter cold temperatures and gusty winds that drove smoke throughout the neighborhood. Lowell Sun/Robert Mills
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Firefighters in Lowell and Lynn each battled ferocious blazes that erupted tonight in the frigid cold of Thanksgiving. 

Lowell firefighters confronted cold and frozen equipment at a wind-whipped three-alarm fire on Shaw and Arthur streets that left at least two dozen people homeless. 

Lynn firefighters responded to a fire on Grover Street in that city at about 8:30 p.m. Firefighters struck a second alarm on that blaze, in a three story residential building, upon arrival.

According to the Lynn Fire Department, all occupants of the building were accounted for with no injuries.

In Lowell, at least one firefighter was taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. 

Crews were initially called to the area of 35 Shaw St., in Lowell at around 5:35 p.m. for a report of a fire. Upon arrival, firefighters told dispatchers there was smoke and fire showing from a home at 24 Arthur St. 

A second alarm was quickly struck as flames shot out of the 2 1/2 story home at Arthur and Sagamore streets while crews rushed to get water on the blaze in the city’s Highlands section. 

At one point, two Lowell firefighters who were working to establish a new hose line slid on the ice that quickly formed in the frigid temperatures and got blasted with water at close range. The water had enough force to blow one of the firefighters halfway across the street. Both firefighters continued working to get the line in position and put water on the blaze. 

Within about 30 minutes, gusty winds had pushed the blaze to spread to the rear of a second home located at the corner of Shaw and Sagamore streets. 

Both houses involved in the blaze were total losses, said Lowell Fire Chief Jeffrey Winward. A third home, also on Arthur Street, suffered damage and firefighters had to keep water on a fourth home to keep it from catching. 

All residents of the homes escaped safely, Winward said. 

Winward said the cold and wind hampered efforts to battle the blaze, as did frozen fire hydrants and frozen hose lines.

— Todd A. Prussman contributed