REVERE (CBS) – Fire destroyed two homes and damaged five others in Revere early Tuesday on a street where a tornado hit three years ago.
Flames broke out around 4:15 a.m. at 45 Taft Street and engulfed number 43 next door within minutes.
“Literally, it was a wall of flame. I mean you couldn’t see anything. It was just flames,” a witness told WBZ-TV.
Everyone inside both homes escaped safely. One firefighter was hurt and was treated for minor injuries. Fire Chief Christopher Bright said 18 people are now looking for a new place to live.
“We lost everything but we’re alive,” said Jose Laniez who escaped the fire with his wife and three kids.
“They were scared, they were very scared, crying and shaking,” Laniez said. “They went through the tornado and now fire so it’s not easy.”
Five other houses in the area were damaged. Taft Street was the same neighborhood that was hit by a tornado back in 2014.
Bright said there were some problems getting hydrants to work Tuesday.
“Original companies were having trouble getting water in the area,” he told reporters. “We had to lay some large diameter hose lines to feed the area.”
It’s not clear yet what caused the four-alarm fire.
One neighbor described the scene as chaotic, saying he saw people “spraying their houses so they didn’t catch fire.”
Bright said that, because flames broke out before sunrise, this week’s heat wave didn’t cause a big issue.
“Four o’clock in the morning is better than 12 noon,” he said. “It is a little humid, but firefighters are tough and they’re well-conditioned, and they did a tremendous job.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports