SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Two houses destroyed, others damaged and some two dozen people are homeless after a huge fire early Wednesday morning on Chase Street in Springfield.
Crews are working to clean up what’s left of it, but what’s left is not much at all. Just 13 hours ago, two old fashioned Springfield homes stood here, and are now reduced to rubble.
This massive fire, what most here are simply calling an inferno, erupted just before 5:00 a.m.
The fire lit up the neighborhood in flames and damaged eight houses, causing a total of half a million dollars in damage, and you saw it all play out live on 40 in the Morning as Tom Lewis was reporting live from the scene:
Obviously, news of this fire spread quickly. Fifteen people displaced and you just saw the scene from this morning. It’s truly amazing that everyone made it out alive.
As the sun came up, this fire was raging.
“It was an inferno here. It was a big big ball of fire,” says Victor Santiago.
Victor Santiago was on his way to work when firefighters stopped him in his tracks.
“I saw them and they said ‘Whose in the house?’ I said my wife and my kid. They said you need to get out of here, get out of here fast,” Santiago recalls.
That’s because flames were burning out of control. Somehow, they narrowly avoided Santiago’s house
“[What was going through your head?] Our house was going to be next and the whole block was going to go. The way it was going we thought the whole block would go.”
Dennis Leger, aid to Springfield’s fire commissioner, says, “Some of these houses are 15 to 20 feet apart, but houses on the other side of the street…siding was melted, so it got very hot, very quickly.”
Large pieces of embers and burned out houses are spread all throughout Chase Avenue
Michael Bess rushed to the scene, just in time to see flames spread from 48 Chase Avenue, where the fire began, to his sister’s house at 42 Chase.
“You could feel the heat and the smoke, because they kept on moving you back. You gotta get back. You gotta get back,” Bess says.
Witnesses say the wind kept shifting, making the battle for firefighters even tougher.
“Everybody was here. It was a good thing everybody was here. If not, somebody would have died. No doubt in my mind somebody would have died,” Bess notes.
You heard the witnesses talking about shifting wind directions, but firefighters had another obstacle.
When they went to open a hydrant, a water main was comprised and broke, so they had to find alternative water supplies, which at times snarled water pressure to almost zero.
People on-scene say that they heard fireworks being shot off around the area late last night.
While firefighters say this fire is suspicious, they won’t say that it was started by fireworks. That is still under investigation.
Longmeadow firefighters assisted at the scene of the fire, while other surrounding towns provided mutual aid at Springfield fire stations.
Those displaced by the fire are being assisted by the Red Cross.