LYNN (CBS) – More than 65 people were forced out of their homes on New Year’s Day after a five-alarm fire tore through an apartment building early Sunday morning.
Flames broke out just after 8 a.m. in the four-story building on West Baltimore Street.
Everyone inside escaped the thick, black smoke safely, but most of the 24 apartments were either destroyed or heavily damaged.
“You couldn’t see at all. We tried our best to find a door. God happened and we got out,” a resident named Marcello who lost all of his possessions told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
“I just saw smoke, really dark smoke pouring down the hallway,” resident Hasib Lolic told WBZ-TV.
Romeo Tuloe came running out with his wife and four kids. “Smoke was everywhere and she yelled ‘fire’ and started running down the stairs,” Tuloe said.
Nicole Coman and her son Gavin were among the dozens of residents left out in the cold. “It was so quick and no one knows what was going on,” Coman told WBZ.
Lynn Deputy Fire Chief Steve Archer says water was an issue.
“One of the hydrants that we grabbed initially was inoperative,” he told reporters. “The fire progressed very quickly and conditions deteriorated quickly.”
As the fire grew, firefighters were ordered out of the building briefly and nearby buildings were evacuated.
Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
Once the fire was doused, residents were left to wonder what’s next.
“My wallet, keys, all is gone. Someone just gave me pants because I came out bare naked,” Tuloe said.
Neighbor Joe Cresta opened up his home for those displaced, offering food, a bathroom, and shelter.
“I brought socks out because people are barefoot. It’s very sad,” he said.
There’s no word yet on where or how the fire started.
The displaced residents were getting help from the Red Cross.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports