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Unusual 3-alarm fire in Boston apartment building burns two separate floors

Firefighters arrived and saw fire on the sixth-floor that also caused a fire on the third-floor


WCVB Channel 5 Boston/YouTube

By Grace Zokovitch
Boston Herald

BOSTON — Seventy-eight Brighton residents were forced out of their homes Wednesday morning when a three-alarm fire tore through their apartment building at 1980 Commonwealth Ave.

“People are just very relieved that there wasn’t any injuries or anything worse,” said building resident Meghan Morrissey, sitting on the stoop next door with her bewildered dog Ellie Bean and a mass of neighbors clutching possessions.

“It’s damaged though, which is hard. Yes, you can replace everything, but still, it’s hard.”

Boston Fire announced “all companies” were responding to a fire that quickly went to three alarms at the building around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“The first arriving companies had fire on the sixth floor,” said Boston Fire District Chief Mark Loschiavo. “As they were going to attack that fire, a fire broke out on the third floor from fallen embers, and they changed their attack.”

The spread from the upper to the lower floor is unusual, Loschiavo said, caused by fire dropping from a sixth-floor air conditioner to a third-floor air conditioner.

The fire was controlled quickly, Loschiavo said, and one firefighter suffered a minor neck injury during the attack and was transported to the hospital.

Firefighters knocked on doors to all 52 units and residents were evacuated quickly without incident, the chief said. Several pets were also rescued and brought out to their families.

Residents said “thankfully” the building put in all new alarm systems just within the last year.

Residents were huddled outside under the building shade well into the afternoon, eating pizza, drinking water and supporting each other. Morrissey said the fire department, Red Cross, mayor’s office and building management all reached out and “could not be more accommodating.”

“We’re waiting to hear the full extent of the damage,” Morrissey said. “They’ve been fairly great about giving us water and sunblock and stuff in the meantime, and they said we’re probably out for at least a few days depending on how they can get things stable and whatnot.”

Two apartments suffered significant fire damage, and there was water damage throughout the rest of the building, Loschiavo said. But the deeper issue that may prevent residents from getting back into their homes are potential issues with the apartments’ wiring.

“Electrical is the problem,” Loschiavo said. “A lot of electrical damage, work from the ’30s. So that’s gonna be the deciding factor is electricity.”

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