Firefighters battled their way through thick smoke this morning to extinguish a car fire in an underground parking garage on State Street in the downtown area, the Boston Fire Department said.
The two-alarm fire was reported at 8:58 a.m. at the garage at 75 State St., department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard DiBenedetto said one firefighter injured his shoulder pulling a hose. The fire took an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes to put out.
Jane Ciccarelli, an executive assistant who was heading to work at nearby Hill Holliday, said she had parked her car in the quiet garage, noticed a fire under another car as she walked to the elevator, and immediately reported it to security.
“It wasn’t a huge flame, but it was enough to catch someone’s attention,” she said.
Ciccarelli noticed fluid dripping from the front of the car.
“When it hit the ground, it would inflame up,” she said. She said she had thought someone would quickly put the fire out with a fire extinguisher.
MacDonald said the car, an older-model, white Toyota Camry, was in the fifth underground level of the garage located under a high-rise office building.
The fire posed problems because it generated thick smoke on a couple of levels of the garage. Firefighters had to use their thermal imaging cameras, among other tools, to find the blaze, he said.
A second alarm was sounded because of the size of the building and the difficulties of operating in a confined space, he said.
He said the fire department was working with building engineers to get the exhaust vents in the building turned on as high as possible to clear the smoke.
He said traffic was congested in the area and would likely be that way for some time as firefighters continue their work.
The fire is under investigation, DiBenedetto said.
Hundreds of people evacuated the building, milling outside on the streets and taking advantage of the break to pick up coffee at nearby shops.
Elizabeth Frolin, 27, of Boston, who works at Sovereign Bank on the building's fourth floor, said, "There was smoke in the hallway. The whole lobby was full of smoke."
Irfan Qureshi of Boston, who works on the fifth floor, said he wasn't evacuated, but "I came down to grab a drink and got stuck."
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