By Alana Melanson

A St. James Street home was heavily damaged when a two-alarm fire tore through the two-story building early on Thursday morning, Feb. 22.

Fire Chief David Brouillette said a call reporting the fire came in about 5:30 a.m., and when crews arrived, they saw smoke coming from windows on both floors.

He said they received reports that there may have been a person inside and conducted a search, but found the resident was not home at the time.

It took firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control, and another hour to chase and extinguish hot spots in the attic, Brouillette said.

A neighbor, who declined to give her name, said she heard the trucks coming down the street shortly after 5:30, and first thought they were plows, given the forecast for snow. She said she and her husband looked out their window and saw flames shooting from the right side of the neighbor's house.

She described the resident of the home as a man who "keeps to himself."

Lowell and Methuen assisted Dracut at the fire, and Lowell provided station coverage, Brouillette said.

St. James Street is off Lakeview Avenue, near Tennis Plaza.