A 5-alarm blaze destroyed three buildings and sent two firefighters to the hospital Tuesday morning in Quincy, Massachusetts.
The fire was reported by a taxi driver around 9:30 a.m. on Newport Avenue by Beale Street, across from the Wollaston MBTA station.
Massive Fire Destroys 3 Buildings in Quincy
Video and photos tweeted out by Quincy Police showed heavy flames and thick, black smoke pouring from the building.
The fire was declared under control by noon, but firefighters remained on scene working to extinguish hot spots. Area residents were urged to avoid the area through the evening commute.
Newport Avenue was closed between Beale Street and North Central Avenue. Around 9:45 p.m., police said one southbound lane of Newport Avenue had reopened. Beale Street reopened around 4 p.m.
Quincy Fire Capt. Dan Gorman said dozens of firefighters battled the blaze, which started in a building undergoing renovations. The fire quickly spread to three other buildings. Within 10 minutes of crews arriving, the first building had collapsed. A second building partially collapsed a short time later.
Gorman said the wind hampered efforts by firefighters.
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"It was blowing 20 to 25 miles per hour and it was going straight up the street so the fire just wanted to travel," he said. "It just wanted to take right off."
He said other than the building where the fire started, an unknown number of residents live on the second and third floors of the other buildings.
Gorman said at first, crews had a difficult time getting residents out.
"We didn't have control of the fire. So we didn't know how many people were in there," he said. "None of them were aware. People were knocking down doors. They didn't know the buildings were on fire. It could've been a different outcome."
Gorman said there could be as many as 30 residents displaced.
Among the many residents forced out of their apartments was Regina Timomina. She said she ran back inside to grab her passport.
"I left the building. I saw huge flames shooting up the sky," she recalled.
The firefighters who were hurt were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials said the same building burned in 2015.
One contractor told NBC10 Boston he was still doing renovations after that first fire and can't believe it happened again.
"I'm 90 percent done on the plumbing already. I was going to get payment on the building, now nothing," said the contractor, who did not give his name.
The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents at the Quincy Parks and Recreation Building.