HOLYOKE (CBS) — One woman is dead, two people are missing and several were injured Sunday morning when a fire ripped through a five-story apartment building in Holyoke.
Many residents of the building on North East Street say they awoke to their smoke alarms going off.
It was just before nine a.m. on New Year’s Day and many were sleeping in.
But as they tried to escape, thick black smoke made things very difficult.
Some residents jumped from their windows and the woman who died may have jumped from her fourth floor apartment.
“I was looking in the window of the lady’s jumping from the fourth floor. I can’t believe it, man I’m telling you. I still got it here in my mind.it’s terrible,” Ricardo Quinones of Holyoke said.
At one point, firefighters had to knock down one wall of the apartment building, in order to battle the blaze.
Firefighters rescued at least three people from the burning apartment building. The Red Cross is helping some two dozen families find another place to stay.
“We are praying to God that they get through this. It’s just sad. To see something like this is very sad and I’m very sad for the families,” neighbor Ruth Colon said.
Officials have not yet determined how the fire started, but are somewhat puzzled about how it spread so quickly.