Firefighters knocked down a raging fire in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood early Friday at a home with "extreme hoarding conditions" that made fighting the blaze difficult, officials said.
One woman who lives alone was able to escape safely before heavy fire engulfed a three-family home at 77 Romsey Street. It was unclear whether she suffered any injuries.
The woman, in her 60s, was inside when flames broke out around 4 a.m.
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Chief of Operations Andre Stallworth says there were "extreme hoarding conditions" inside the home which made it very difficult to fight the fire.
One concern was that all of the material could cause a collapse of the home once water started pouring into the building, according to Stallworth.
"Because there was so much material in there, we always have to think about collapse and overflooding the building. Because now all that stock and all that material, whether it be newspapers, clothing, it holds water," Stallworth said.
"So that starts us thinking about you know about thousands and thousands of gallons of water in there and we don't want our people to be in there when we have to try to put these fires out."
The Boston Fire Department knocked down the heavy fire around 5:30 a.m. and remains on scene to chase the hot spots.
Flames could be seen shooting from the roof and the back of the home when the fire reached three alarms. Officials confirm most of the fire was concentrated on the third floor.
Both buildings on either side were evacuated as a precaution, given how close together the structures are. There was very little damage to those two buildings, Stallworth said.
Nearby residents were also concerned that the fire could easily spread to other homes given the close proximity.
"Entire house was just up in crazy flames, God knows how high above the house," said Emma Miller, who lives around the corner and was woken up by all of the sirens.
As flames engulfed the home, crews were ordered to leave the building to fight the multi-alarm fire from the outside.
Firefighters surrounded the home as they worked to prevent the fire from spreading to any adjacent homes.
There were no injuries to any firefighters.
Chief Stallworth says the building is a total loss and damages are estimated at $400,000 to $500,000.
It's unclear what caused the fire at this time, but the woman who lives inside the home is talking with fire investigators as they work to determine the cause.
The fire remains under investigation.