A multi-family home in Malden, Massachusetts, went up in flames Monday, displacing 21 residents and sending a firefighter to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
All of the residents made it out safely before the flames consumed the three-story home on Lowell Street.
"I came home, I see a police car and I see like a big boom, fire just exploding. It was crazy," said Sheldon Wasajja, who lives two doors down.
It took Malden firefighters a couple of hours to put out what they said was a fire that started on the second floor. In a manner of minutes, those flames reached the third-floor attic, prompting all 15 adults and six children to evacuate.
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"In a building like this, the fire gets into those void spaces. When the third-floor attic was finished, there were rooms up there. What occurs is that the construction just creates large voids for the fire to travel, and it's labor-intensive to get those areas open and get water on the fire," explained Malden Fire Chief William Sullivan.
One of the firefighters required medical assistance for smoke inhalation. Sullivan said that firefighter would be OK.
Wasajja was glad the families made it out safely, but he laments what happened.
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"I grew up with them, essentially. This is heartbreaking," he said.
Those families turned to the American Red Cross of Massachusetts for assistance.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.