A fire tore through a home in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood early Sunday morning, and a family luckily managed to escape thanks in part to their quick thinking and the helping hands of an off-duty firefighter who happens to be their neighbor.
Four people were sleeping inside their Norton Street home around 7 a.m. Sunday when they were suddenly awakened by smoke alarms.
“She started screaming for everyone to wake up,” said Anderson Centeno, whose mom Luzmar Centeno, his stepdad Esteban Mendez, and two sisters Sophia and Fernanda live in the home. "She woke up my 16-year-old sister, she grabbed my 1-year-old sister out of the crib.”
Centeno's stepdad went downstairs to try to put the fire out, but the flames were spreading fast.
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“He grabbed the mop bucket and he just tried dousing,'” Centeno said of his stepdad.
Next-door neighbor Colin MacDonnell along with his brother tried to do their part with hoses.
“We grabbed the two hoses, one from the front and the back, and we started squirting water on there,” MacDonnell said.
Inside the home, Centeno's mom found herself trapped upstairs. The only way out was the window, but fortunately the man who lives in the adjoining apartment is a firefighter.
“He came to the window and he said, 'throw me your baby,'” Centeno said of the off-duty firefighter, who was in the driveway. "He just looked at her and said, 'throw me your baby,' and my mom threw out a pillow. He said, 'no, let’s do it this way.'”
Somehow the woman was able to hand her 1-year-old daughter Fernanda into the arms of the firefighter. But then she had to jump out the window and sustained a gash in her leg and a severely sprained ankle. Her teenage daughter Sophia made it out safely, but her husband was taken to a nearby hospital with burns to his face and arms. He had run up the burning stairs to make sure his family was out.
"There isn't much left, but luckily we have good people around us," Centeno said.
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The family now needs a new place to live. The firefighter and his family in the adjacent apartment also can’t live in the multi-family home. In all, seven people have been displaced by Sunday's blaze.
Firefighters were met with heavy smoke and fire coming out of the back of the home when they arrived Sunday. The Boston Fire Department says the fire started at the back porch of the house and spread through the first and second floor to the roof.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire in the first place.