REVERE (CBS) – Fire officials confirmed that one man died in a three-alarm fire in the extreme cold at a home in Revere early Friday.
Flames started pouring from the rear of the two-story house on Reservoir Avenue around 5:45 a.m.
The rising smoke could be seen from miles away at sunrise.
Six people were in the building when the fire started – two elderly men, three other adults and a child.
The adults and child escaped safely.
A neighbor said her husband rushed to the house and knocked on the door around 6 a.m., but no one answered and smoke was visible inside.
Revere Deputy Fire Chief Chris Bright told WBZ-TV he knew where his uncle’s basement room was located so he ran to that area.
Bright added that the door is normally locked, but fortunately it was open on Friday, so he entered the home and crawled through the smoke to rescue his uncle.
“I just crawled on my hands and knees into his room screaming for him, and he answered me. I grabbed him and pulled him out of the basement,” said Bright.
Bright’s other elderly uncle, Dennis Toomey, was in a first floor apartment. Authorities said throughout the morning that the man was unaccounted for, but just after 12 p.m. they confirmed he died in the fire.
Toomey’s neighbors recalled him fondly after hearing the news.
“It was always ‘Hey, Felicia! How’s your day? How’s it going? Going to work? What are you doing?'” said Felicia Cuopolo.
FROZEN AND BLOCKED HYDRANTS
Fire Chief Gene Doherty told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens it was a struggle the moment they arrived.
A truck was blocking one hydrant, another was buried in snow and several others were frozen in the sub-zero wind chills.
“Precious moments are lost when firefighters have to dig out hydrants to establish water supply,” said State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan.
The home is also on an ice-covered hill.
As the fire intensified, the roof collapsed.
There were initial concerns that as many as three people were unaccounted for, but two of them were found later in the morning.
Firefighters were delayed getting into the house because several hot spots were still burning inside.
Doherty said two firefighters left with minor injuries after falling on the ice.
There’s no word yet on how the fire started.
The fire is near the McKinley School, so authorities initially delayed the start of classes until 9:30 a.m. But the mayor later cancelled school there for the day.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens Reports: