Monday, 4:06 PM
Fire on Blue Hill Avenue injures at least 13
(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
Firefighters worked to douse the fire at 1458 Blue Hill Ave. earlier today.
By John Drake, Globe Staff
A three-alarm fire at a triple-decker on Blue Hill Avenue in Boston has injured at least 13 people, Boston fire and emergency service officials said.
Two of those injured were in critical condition, including a 2-year-old boy whose limp body was found by a firefighter groping his way through the smoke.
The fire on Blue Hill near Woodhaven Street in the city's Mattapan neighborhood broke out at around noon.
Richard Serino, chief of Boston Emergency Medical Services, said 11 civilians were injured, including residents of the building and passersby who tried to rescue them. A firefighter and police officer were also hurt.
Neighbors hailed a 34-year-old construction worker as a hero for climbing a pole and rescuing a baby and two women from the third-floor apartment.
Al Pierre said he saw the building on fire as he passed by and acted without thinking.
"Now that I think about it, it's kind of heavy," he said of his actions.
Firefighters plunged into the smoke and flames to rescue four children.
Firefighter Renard Miller said he was searching through the smoke on the third floor when he found the two-year-old sitting on the bed.
"I opened a couple of doors and heard a faint cry," he said. He felt around and found the baby.
"I took my mask off and put it on the baby. I felt good that I found the baby," he said.
But he also said, "The baby seemed lifeless. ... The baby was just limp in my arms."
Deputy Fire Chief Robert Dunderdale said the baby had suffered serious smoke inhalation injuries. No information was available on the identity of the second critically injured person.
Dunderdale said firefighters arrived at the scene within three minutes of the call. The fire was brought under control in 45 minutes. Damage has been estimated at $500,000.
"There were some tense moments. It was a very fast-moving fire," Dunderdale said.
He said fire department officials believe the smoke alarms were operating in the building and don't know why occupants of the second and third floors were not able to get out more quickly.