WATERTOWN (CBS) — Firefighters were called to Robert Ford Road in Watertown after flames broke out at a public housing apartment building on Friday. Thirty-one people were displaced.

One person was taken to the hospital for a cardiac issue unrelated to the smoke. Their condition is unknown.

Fire and heavy smoke were seen shooting through several parts of the roof around 11:35 a.m.

“It got up into the roof system of the building. There are two areas where there are firewalls, it spread all the way to each firewall,” said Dep. Chief Tom McManus.

Crews battled a fire at a Watertown apartment building Friday (WBZ-TV)

The fire was put out by 1 p.m. It was contained to one building with 12 units.

Devlynne Loder lives in the apartment building and called 911. “Right when I went outside, everything busted, like the windows, the screen to the window busted, it was literally insane. All I kept thinking was ‘Is everybody OK? My cats, my dogs, my brother, my mom, everything,” she said.

Resident Teresa Dawson said, “Heard people screaming, looked out her back window, and this unit was engulfed in smoke, it was probably about 50 feet high.”

Crews from Newton, Arlington, Waltham, and Belmont helped Watertown firefighters.

Anyone who was displaced is receiving help from the state. “Residents are safe. That was our number one concern. We’ve got young families here, we’ve got kids so they have a place for tonight. We got them hotel rooms and we’re coordinating with the state, the department of housing and community development, to see if other housing authorities are going to step up and help us,” said Watertown Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Lara.

The building did have working smoke detectors. It is unclear what sparked the fire.


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