BOSTON (CBS) – Two people are dead and three hurt after a devastating fire in the North End early Wednesday morning.
Flames broke out on the second floor of a 5-story apartment building on Hanover Street around 1 a.m.
A 33-year-old man, identified as Peter W. Smith, died after jumping from a top-floor window to escape the fire. Another unidentified man was found dead inside a second floor apartment.
“Smoke was coming in my room,” his roommate told reporters. “I got up to ask him why the house was so smoky and he’s like ‘Help me, help me put this out!’ and I started filling up a pan of water and it was just useless, it was fruitless. And I said, ‘Matt we have to go, it’s just too big,’ and I ran out the door and I thought he was coming behind me but he must have still been staying to put the fire out.”
Smith worked as an investment analyst with Wilkins Investment Counsel in Boston. According to the company website, Smith graduated from Bowdoin College, where he majored in economics and was a four-year member of the men’s varsity ice hockey team. He previously worked as a fixed income trader with Bank of New York Mellon and was a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society in Boston.
A mother, father and a three-year-old child were rescued with a ladder truck and rushed to Tufts Medical Center. About 12 residents are now looking for another place to live.
Investigators say the fire started because of “careless disposal of smoking material,” later identified as a cigarette, in a second floor bedroom.
The fire department says damage is estimated at $1.5 million.
A restaurant, Trattoria Il Panino, is on the ground floor of the building.
“The fire did not impact the restaurant but our hearts go out to the victims and their families who had to encounter this tragedy during the holiday season,” Maria DeNapoli, a spokesperson for the restaurant, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“We are grateful our staff is all safe and accounted for, but we hurt for our neighbors and friends who perished. This is no way to start the holiday season and we will be here to help our neighbors who were affected today. The North End is a special place full of special people and this news saddens us to our core as we are a proud part of this community.”
According to the state fire marshal, smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts. In the last decade there have been more than 2,000 smoking-related fires, resulting in 68 deaths, 157 injuries, and more than $90 million worth of property damage