QUINCY (CBS) – More than 30 people are displaced after flames broke out in a building on Newport Avenue near Beale Street Tuesday. Of those 30, about 20 people were evacuated by firefighters.

“It was a tense 15 minutes,” said Quincy Fire Capt. Daniel Gorman. “They were breaking down doors. People were in their units, they didn’t know the buildings were on fire.”

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A cab driver passing by noticed the fire around 9:30 a.m.

“I was a first responder in the Navy so I’ve been in a few fires,” said cab driver Jeff Green. “I knew. I knew what was going on so I knew we had to act fast and get somebody. Get the professionals over there.”

Green drove to a nearby firehouse and alerted crews he said were unaware because the wind was blowing in the opposite direction.

Flames then spread to four buildings, three of them are completely destroyed. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.

The buildings had businesses on the first floor and residential apartments on the second. The building where the fire is believed to have started was under construction.

“I saw huge flames. I’ve never seen a fire like that,” Regina Timonia said, who was evacuated. “It’s really upsetting, I don’t know the right word to say. But hopefully, I’m glad that nobody got hurt.”

A fire on Newport Avenue in Quincy spread to multiple buildings Tuesday morning (WBZ-TV)

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Several streets were shut down as crews worked to control the flames.

The fire and police departments shut down Beale Street from Wollaston Center to Harvard Street. It was reopened around 4 p.m.

Newport Avenue is closed from Furnace Brook northbound. Police expect the surrounding area will be closed through the evening commute.

“It’s the old part of the city. We ran into some water problems right away,” said Gorman.

Another issue for firefighters was wind. “It was a big deal for us. It was blowing, I’m going to say it was blowing 20, 25 mph and it was going straight up the street so the fire wanted to just travel,” Gorman said.

The smoke was so thick is registered on the National Weather Service radar.

No word yet on what sparked the fire.

The fire department said there was a fire at the same location a few years ago.

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