Five-alarm fire sweeps through homes in Mission Hill

Firefighters work to extinguish a five-alarm fire that swept through several apartment buildings along Calumet Street in Mission Hill.
Firefighters work to extinguish a five-alarm fire that swept through several apartment buildings along Calumet Street in Mission Hill. –Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Fire crews were dousing remaining hot spots and surveying the damage on Calumet Street in Boston’s Mission Hill section today, where an early-morning fire ripped through three triple-decker homes, displacing residents and sending one woman to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

It was unclear this morning how many residents were left homeless by the blaze, which kept firefighters working through the night. At its peak, 130 responded to the fire.

The call came in at 12:45 a.m. for a duplex at 37-39 Calumet St., said Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman. The first arriving firefighters saw heavy fire and called out the second alarm, he said. The fire then spread to 41 Calumet.

Firefighters also trained their hose lines on 35 Calumet, as flames licked toward the houses on both sides of the building where the fire was first reported, MacDonald said.

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Damage so far has been estimated at more than $1 million, said Lisa Daughtry, whose family owns the gray asphalt-shingled building at 37 Calumet.

Daughtry said she had planned to return Saturday evening to her third-floor apartment – now gutted by flames – but decided to stay overnight in Stoughton with her girlfriend.

From the hilly street she watched in shock as three firefighters poured water into an upper floor of a neighboring building.

“That’s my room right there,’’ she said, shaking her head. “I would have been home on a Saturday night.’’

It was unclear this morning where the fast-moving fire originated. Daughtry and others said that the buildings were populated mostly by students, some of whom study at nearby Northeastern University or at the Longwood Medical Complex, which sits steps from the site of the fire.

Tony Naranjo, 34, said his niece lived on the second-floor front apartment, and was asleep in the unit, along with one roommate, when the fire broke out. The niece, a 20-year-old Emmanuel College student whom he declined to identify to protect her privacy, is being treated for smoke inhalation and today is in stable condition, Naranjo said.

“She just moved in,’’ he said. “It sucks. She lost everything.’’ Moments later, a fire investigator who inspected the charred building emerged with a sodden photo album that belonged to the young woman, and handed it to Naranjo, the pages swollen with water.

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“It’s soaked,’’ Naranjo said. “But it will make it.’’

While the fire smoldered in the daylight, city inspectors took stock of the neighboring homes, including 41 Calumet. From that building’s first-floor apartment, animal control and rescue workers pulled more than 10 live cats today, some in boxes, others in cages.

One Inspectional Services Department worker, who declined to identify herself, said there were multiple violations at one of the burned buildings, but did not specify which one. When questioned by a reporter, she declined to elaborate.

An email message to the department’s spokeswoman was not immediately returned today.

MacDonald said it was fortunate that only one person was injured in the fire. No firefighters were hurt, he said.

High winds are believed to have helped spread the fire.

Fires were reported Saturday night and this morning in Teele Square in Somerville, in Lunenburg, and in Providence, R.I. as an early-season snowstorm swept through the region.

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