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‘It was a tough fight': 1 dead, several injured in Boston 6-alarm fire

Boston Fire Commissioner Paul F. Burke said firefighters were “under the gun” to get people out when they arrived

By Charlie McKenna

BOSTON — One person was killed and several people, including a child, were injured after a massive, six-alarm fire tore through three buildings in East Boston early Tuesday morning, fire officials said.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Fire Commissioner Paul F. Burke confirmed the death in a press conference Tuesday morning. Burke said one person was found dead inside the home where the fire broke out, and “at least” another five people, including the child, were rescued from the flames by firefighters on aerial ladders.

One firefighter was hurt and being taken to a hospital for treatment of a minor knee injury, Burke said.

Burke said he could not say what the child’s condition was.

Ten people were living in each of the three buildings damaged by the fire, Burke said, leaving roughly 30 people displaced. The damage to each building was an average of about $5 million, Burke said.

Wu offered her “deepest condolences” to the family of the person who was killed by the fire.

“It’s incredibly heartbreaking to feel what that family must be feeling,” she said, adding the city would do whatever it could to assist displaced residents.

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The fire, which broke out around 5 a.m. on Tuesday , presented extreme difficulties for responding firefighters, Burke said.

“It was a tough fight. I’ll admit it,” he said. “It was really tough. They couldn’t get ahold of it, not for trying.”

“It was unbelievable that we couldn’t get a hold of it because it was so hard to get to,” he added.

East Boston presents unique difficulties for firefighting because of its density and isolated location from the rest of the city, Burke said.

“It was going so fast when they got there,” he said. “These guys were fast, they worked really hard getting everybody out and then trying to extinguish the fire.”

“This is an island basically and everybody’s coming from through the tunnels... it’s tough to get help here,” Burke continued. “Initially, they were under the gun, getting people out.”

The fire spread quickly while responding firefighters conducted lengthy search and rescue operations, Burke said. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but it appeared to have started at the back of what Burke described as the “primary building” on Meridian Street .

Fire investigators were at the scene Tuesday and Burke said he anticipated they would remain there for some time.

Burke used a drone to help direct firefighting operations at the scene, a tool he described as extremely helpful in navigating the massive, fast-moving flames.

“I looked at it 20 times at least today,” he said. “It’s a great tool.”

Wu praised the work of responding firefighters in an “extremely dangerous situation.”

“Without the actions and quick response from multiple neighborhoods around the city to address this fire, there surely would have been more lives lost,” she said. “Our firefighters themselves also were at great risk and we saw multiple residents rescued out of extremely hot, top-floor windows.”

“I want to thank all of our first responders, certainly our firefighters, police officers, EMS, and our neighborhood services teams who were here in a moment’s notice also to provide support for those families who are displaced and we’re going to continue working with those families and the impacted neighbors in the area... for the weeks to come as they need it,” Wu continued.

Videos posted by the fire department on X, formerly Twitter showed firefighters battling the fire from nearby buildings, as they tried to prevent it from consuming an entire city block.

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