UPDATE: 3 buildings still burning in three-alarm fire

SALEM β€” Crews from throughout the region were battling a devastating multi-building, three-alarm fire in the area of Hancock and Geneva streets Monday afternoon.

The fire was first reported around 3:40 p.m., according to Salem fire Lt. Peter Schaeublin. A third alarm was struck within six minutes of crews first getting to the scene, according to social media activity reporting scanner traffic. As of 4:45 p.m., four buildings were actively burning, per city building inspector Tom St. Pierre.

“It’s been very difficult getting to the scene of the fire,” Schaeublin said. “The building is what you’d call a triple-decker. It’s all combustible wood, so the fire traveled very quickly. Wind has been an issue for a little bit with our aerial drives.”