Boston firefighters battled a large fire that spread from a Dorchester apartment building to a second one Friday afternoon, displacing more than 15 people and injuring one firefighter.
The department shared video of heavy flames tearing through the upper porches of a triple-decker building on Lithgow Street in Codman Square. With the homes so close together, it didn't take long for the fire to spread to an adjacent building.
Firefighters were on scene to battle the blaze, knocking it down by about 3:25 p.m. The porches of at least one building collapsed, according to fire officials.
One firefighter was injured and was being treated at the hospital for a hand injury.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Everyone got out safely thanks in part to witnesses who rang doorbells and yelled for people to come out.
"We just started ringing the bells to try to get people out,” said Vivian Fernandez, who saw the smoke and flames and quickly ran over to try and warn the people inside. "A young guy, maybe a teenager, came out, and he didn’t know what was going on, and we're like, 'there’s a fire,' and he’s like, 'oh,' and he went back in to get his family, so obviously it helped that we were there at the right time.”
One of the people inside the building when the fire started was Joann Levin. She was on the second floor and at first didn't believe there was a fire.
“I was working from home, my son ran into my room and told me that there was a fire, so I didn’t believe him, and he’s like, 'no mom, there's a fire, there's a fire' and he's running with the dog, so that’s when I ran out of the house,” Levin said.
All of the residents got out of both buildings, and their pets did, too.
Firefighters believe the fire started on the third floor, which residents say is vacant.
“It was a little shocking because I didn’t think there’d be a fire because nobody lives up there, but I was calm, cool and collected,” said
A back porch collapsed, the roof caved in, and there’s extensive damage inside.
In all, 17 people were displaced between the two triple-deckers, but they are all safe thanks in part to witnesses like Fernandez, who saw the flames spreading fast in this densely-packed neighborhood and did what she could to help.
“My immediate reaction also was to notify the people in the next building because we saw that the wind was pushing the fire to the next building, so ringing the bells to the next people, and just yelling fire, while we were dialing 911.”
“Everything irreplaceable is safe," Levin said.
"That’s all that matters," Marcus Levin added. "Everything else can be replaced.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.