Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
Thirteen people were left homeless after a four-alarm fire devastated a Dorchester apartment building early this morning.
The fire was reported at 46 Colonial Ave. at 1:41 a.m., said Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. Two alarms were originally called, but the fire was upgraded to four alarms due to heavy fire in the front of the building.
"The whole front part of the house was on fire when we arrived on the scene," said MacDonald. "We immediately ordered a second alarm. Because of the hard work of our firefighters, we went to four alarms. We needed to get enough manpower to extinguish it."
The heavy fire was put out in 30 minutes, but firefighters remained on the scene extinguishing hot spots and opening up walls until about 6 a.m., said MacDonald.
3rd floor front http://t.co/7mrs58SP1Y— Boston Fire Dept. (@BostonFire) November 3, 2013
Three firefighters sustained minor injuries extinguishing the fire, said MacDonald.
Residents of the apartment building evacuated safely with the help of working smoke detectors, reported the fire department's Twitter account. MacDonald said the Red Cross was on the scene assisting the displaced. According to the fire department's Twitter account, the MBTA provided a bus to shelter the residents while they awaited the Red Cross.
The Boston Fire Department chief estimated $350,000 in damages for the affected apartments at 46 Colonial Ave., said MacDonald, with the majority of the destruction located in the front of the building.
After the fire http://t.co/7iJjvn58wB— Boston Fire Dept. (@BostonFire) November 3, 2013
The vinyl siding of a neighboring building, at 42 Colonial Ave., melted during the blaze, creating an additional $50,000 in damages. MacDonald said the residents of 42 Colonial Ave. can enter their homes, but their electricity is currently out due to fire damages.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.