MIDDLEBORO (CBS) — An overnight fire left five people displaced and their home severely damaged.
The roof of the Plymouth Street home collapsed, and the second floor is completely charred.
“I was about to go to bed. Someone came out said, ‘there’s a fire, there’s a fire!'” said Peter Hussey, who told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler he lost everything in the blaze.
The fire began in Hussey’s neighbor’s apartment, on the building’s first floor.
“He doesn’t even know what happened,” Hussey said of his neighbor. “He saw the smoke and he went outside and immediately grabbed the hose.”
But a garden hose was no match for the massive flames that quickly grew out of control.
Fire crews said the emergency call came in just after 10 p.m. Tuesday night.
When they arrived, they found large flames shooting from the back of the house that spread to the second floor.
The five people who were at home at the time made it out safely, including Hussey.
“I heard a boom, I looked out the door and the house was on fire,” said neighbor Dennis Wambolt. “I couldn’t believe it when I opened the door.”
Firefighters had their hands full, especially when the flames began to endanger Wambolt’s house.
“The engine had to protect the houses beside it,” said Middleboro Fire Chief Lance Benjamino. “This house to the left was starting to catch fire, so we had to concentrate on that house as well.”
Wambolt’s home was left with minor damage.
Benjamino said one firefighter was injured, but that he is expected to be okay.
The chief added that it took crews more than seven minutes to respond to the fire, because the station closest to the home was closed due to staffing issues. He said that problem could be the difference between life and death.
“Usually a fire doubles in size for every minute that passes,” he said. “We’d like to see staffing but due to budget constraints it’s difficult to do right now … it’s a safety risk for the homeowner and the firefighter responding as well.”
Hussey said he’ll take the recovery day by day, and says he’s grateful to any community members who may want to help.
“God bless them if they do,” he said. “I need everything, I need everything.”
The cause of the fire was not yet known.