BOSTON (CBS) – A nine-alarm fire raged on Old Morton Street on Saturday, spreading to multiple homes and displacing seven families.
The fire started in a vacant building on the Dorchester/Mattapan line and quickly spread to nearby homes, burning a total of eight homes. Wind conditions and the fact that the houses were close together made it tough for firefighters. A roof on at least one of the buildings collapsed.
“It was heavy fire in the original fire building that had spread to the houses on either side of it and the houses in the rear, and caught a couple houses across the street, and we were dealing with all of that at the same time, so that’s why we had heavy manpower come in,” said Boston Fire Chief of Operations John Walsh.
Heavy smoke and uncontrollable flames forced firefighters had to attack the fire from above, using ladders. One witness took video on a cell phone of a firefighter jumping out of a window.
“The flames were shooting out of the roof. It was in the back of the house, and then, all of a sudden, it started spreading; it started spreading, real quick, to the rest of the houses,” said one of the residents, Angela Owens.
Seven firefighters and two residents were injured. The injuries were not life-threatening. Residents were able to get out of their homes safely.
“There were some people in there. I don’t know the time frame they got out of there, but they did get out,” Walsh said.
The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. The Boston Fire Department said that while it doesn’t have exact numbers, it is estimated that the damage will amount to a loss totaling millions of dollars.
The Red Cross said seven families have been affected by the fires and it is deploying volunteers to help the victims. The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Gallivan Community Center at 61 Woodruff Way in Mattapan impacted by the fire. For help, call 617-635-5252.