By Katie Brace

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — As the hours went by, all people could do was watch as fire tore through homes and thick smoke enveloped the neighborhood.

A 10-alarm fire drew more than 100 firefighters from 17 companies to battle the flames that burned into the evening Saturday. With the blaze still burning, residents of the area sought shelter while others hoped their buildings wouldn’t be added to the seven already in flames.

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“I heard whistling coming through my windows and when I opened my blinds there was just flames,” Dan Hasting, who lives diagonal from the church-turned-condo building where the fire wouldn’t quit. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Hastings ran through his three-story building getting everyone out. Billy Castor worried about his family, too.

Flames rage at a 10-alarm Cambridge fire. (Image Credit: Peter Osbourne)

Flames rage at a 10-alarm Cambridge fire. (Image Credit: Peter Osbourne)

“I called my mom, she’s ok. I called my sister, she’s already out and my dad is working,” he said. “I am hoping my house doesn’t catch on fire. My friend Richie, the left side of his house is burned.”

Many knew something was wrong before the sirens.

“We heard the explosion twice and the lights flickered, and when we came out of the house, we saw all the smoke,” Diane Roca said

Roca grabbed her prized possession, her dog Rocco, and ran. With smoke making the air hard to breath and streets used as fire lanes, she knew this night would be spent with family.

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Smoke fills a Cambridge neighborhood as several buildings have caught fire. (WBZ-TV)

Smoke fills a Cambridge neighborhood as several buildings have caught fire. (WBZ-TV)

A quiet Saturday became one of making plans for overnight stays.

“We have some pets in the house, so we were worried about them,” Andrew Marcus said.

Dozens with no where to go trekked to the Red Cross set up at the Community Center. They lined up for buses headed to a high school.

Hasting was not among them. He stayed, watching and hoping the flames would stay away from his home.

“I am not going to leave until my apartment is safe,” he said.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at War Memorial Recreation Center, 1640 Cambridge St. Both the Irving and Harding Houses are also accepting those displaced after the fire.

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In addition, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons announced a fire relief fund to help victims. To donate, visit Cambridgema.gov/firefund.