Early morning five-alarm fire in Allston displaces 19

Firefighters work to put out a five alarm fire in Allston, Massachusetts July 7, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe)
Firefighters work to put out a five alarm fire in Allston, Massachusetts July 7, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe)Credit: The Boston Globe

Nineteen people, including a toddler, were displaced after a five-alarm fire tore through a wood-frame three-decker this morning in Allston, fire officials said.

The flames engulfed and collapsed porches at the rear of the building, and heat from the inferno melted the siding off a nearby home, according to Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

One person was transported to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, MacDonald said, but no other injuries were reported.

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Firefighters responded at 7:12 a.m. to reports of a fire at the three-decker at 17 Mansfield St., MacDonald said. When the first firefighters arrived on scene, they called for a second alarm to be struck. The size of the blaze and its closeness to other homes elevated it to five alarms within 15 minutes, MacDonald said.

But the bulk of the fire was put out by about 8 a.m.

“Our guys did a great job knocking the fire down and making sure that no one was inside the buildings,” said Deputy Chief Robert Calobrisi at the scene this morning.

Calobrisi said officials believe 19 people lived in the building—18 adults and one child—and all were accounted for. The blaze may have caused about $500,000 worth of damage, Calobrisi estimated.

The cause of the fire and where it started was unknown, he said.

He said firefighters performed two searches of the damaged buildings and were to perform a third this afternoon.

The homes flanking 17 Mansfield St. were damaged from the heat of the flames. The synthetic siding of a Royal Street house that abuts the Mansfield Street building was melted off, MacDonald said.

Inspectors from the city’s Inspectional Services Department were on scene to assess the damage, MacDonald said. Inspectional Services officials could not be reached for comment.

Officials were investigating whether working smoke detectors were in place, but residents from two units said smoke detectors in their apartments went off as smoke began to fill the building.

Euzelia Souza, 29, had lived in the 17 Mansfield apartment building for about a month with her husband, Marcos, and their 23-month-old daughter, Larissa. She said her husband’s brother, who has lived in the building for five years, is being treated for smoke inhalation.

“My husband’s brother went to the kitchen and saw the smoke. He said ‘Fire, fire!’” Souza said. “So fast. The fire took everything.”

Kat Powers, communications director for the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, said volunteers responded to the scene.

Paul Hoy, captain of the Red Cross Metro South Disaster Action Team, said at the scene this morning that the Red Cross will provide for any residents who need a place to stay.

“We will also provide money for clothes and money for food,” he said.

Amadeo Garcia, 51, who has lived on the first floor of 17 Mansfied St. for eight years and helps maintain the property, said he knocked on his neighbors’ doors to help get them out.

“My wife went to the shower. She saw a lot of fire in the back,” he said. “I left everything material behind. It was very important to help get everyone out.”

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