By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOXBORO (CBS) – Dozens of people have been displaced by a massive fire at a condo building in Boxboro. As firefighters poured water on the smoldering brick shell on Swanson Road, one longtime resident stood nearby in shock. “I’ve lived there for 45 years, so there’s a lot of memories there,” one woman said.

It was just after five o’clock when firefighters responding to a call for smoke in the attic were greeted by an inferno.

It would soon go to four alarms, drawing troops from several surrounding towns. But Boxboro does not have a municipal water system, meaning no hydrants, forcing them to pull water from nearby ponds when their tanker trucks run dry.

Firefighters respond to fire at Leverett House in Boxboro (WBZ-TV)

The chief said they had bigger problems. “Actually the challenging part was evacuating people, before we even got water, was getting people out of the building,” said Boxboro Fire Chief Paul Fillebrown. “Because people didn’t want to leave.”

The Leverett House has two dozen condo units and firefighters banged on doors several times as some residents scrambled back inside to get belongings and pets.

“My daughter was in the shower and had to run out, and left the pets in there,” said Maryann Shaunessy, the mother of a resident.

After the flames were out and all residents were accounted for, a firefighter was seen bringing a cat out to one condo owner while another firefighter emerged from the gutted building with a pair of rifles.

An 85-year-old woman doesn’t know if any of her possessions survived the spectacular flames. “I’m shaking and I’m upset but I’m alive, I’m out,” she said. “As far as I know everybody got out.”

It is unclear how many people have been displaced. The Red Cross is helping them shelter at a local motel. The state Fire Marshal is investigating.

CBSBoston.com Staff