EAST BOSTON (CBS) – An alert passerby rushed into a burning Chelsea Street apartment building in East Boston on Sunday afternoon to warn residents about a fast-moving fire.
“The man came banging on the first floor door, ‘Get out! There’s a fire!’ We didn’t know nothing about it,” said Louise Murphy, a resident.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.
Paul Antonino happened to be driving by with his family when he saw the intense flames.
“Fully engulfed. Four windows were all blown out and flames were coming out. The people were still in the building. They were still up on the second floor and they didn’t even know the house was on fire,” said Antonino. “I kicked down the two doors and got them out, told them they gotta go, that’s it.”
As Antonino rushed to get the people out, his daughter Natalie called 911.
The fire appeared to have started on the top floor of the building at 330 Chelsea Street. No one was home there.
The flames then quickly spread to the next duplex. At one point, the 7-alarm blaze seemed to be contained, but then it flared up again, causing ceilings and walls to buckle.
“Thank God for that guy. He said they didn’t even hear the alarms, so he went in and he saved them, thank God. I don’t know how they could’ve gotten out. They are very old and can’t really get around well,” said Kathy Kalil, a neighbor.
Antonino says he did what he had to do.
“This is what you do. When something’s happening, you gotta go in,” said Antonino.
Three firefighters were hospitalized. Two suffered shoulder injuries, while one suffered an arm injury.
In all, at least 13 adults and three children were displaced after the fire.
Damage was estimated at $2.5 million.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.