Nine-alarm Boston fire sends 9 to hospital including 7 firefighters
About 150 firefighters battled the blaze, which presented problems because of the “heavy fire,” the “hot night” and the proximity of the affected houses
BOSTON — A nine-alarm fire that flared up in Mattapan late Saturday afternoon spread to eight houses and resulted in nine people – including seven firefighters – being taken to the hospital.
The fire began at about 4:45 p.m. at 39 Old Morton St., which Boston fire Incident Commander Chief of Operations John Walsh said was a vacant house that was under construction. The blaze quickly jumped to seven other structures, as shifting winds sent smoke billowing over the neighborhood.
The cause remains under investigation. The fire department estimates damages will amount to a multimillion-dollar loss.
About 150 firefighters battled the blaze, which Walsh said presented problems because of the “heavy fire,” the “hot night” and the proximity of the affected houses.
“It was heavy fire in the original fire building and it 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 that at the same time. So that’s why we have heavy manpower come in, hit it hard,” Walsh said.
In all nine people – seven firefighters, including public information officer Brian Alkins, and two civilians — were transported to the hospital with minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, Walsh said. One firefighter suffered injuries by jumping out of a window onto a porch, he said.
The Gallivan Community Center at 61 Woodruff Way was opened as shelter for those impacted by the fire, officials said. The American Red Cross is assisting those who were displaced.
Cops cordoned off a section of Morton, Old Morton and Sanford streets as thick gray smoke blanketed the neighborhood and excess water ran in rivers down the roads. Images tweeted by the fire department showed heavily damaged buildings.
The BFD-FIU with Keegan is on scene to continue their investigation of the cause of the 9 alarm fire on Old Morton St. pic.twitter.com/qsO87vZlvQ— Boston Fire Dept. (@BostonFire) June 16, 2019
Geraldine O’Mahony and her family had been packing for their return to Ireland when the fire broke. Within seconds of spotting smoke, “it just went pure black,” she said. “It was scary.”
People ran toward the fire, kicking in doors to get people out. One woman didn’t want to leave, neighbors said, and another man came out carrying his safe.
“It went up so fast,” said Christine Doody. “Within 10 seconds, it just went black.”
©2019 the Boston Herald