SPRINGFIELD – Tuesday afternoon’s fire on Longfellow Terrace destroyed a house, displaced 7 people and caused significant damage to the house next door, a fire official said.
Fire Department spokesman Captain Drew Piemonte said high winds helped spread the blaze, both in the house and on neighboring properties in this heavily populated section of the neighborhood of Forest Park.
A firefighter was injured and had to be taken to hospital. As of Wednesday morning, Piemonte did not have an update on his condition.
The house at 37 Longfellow Terrace was a total loss in the fire, he said. The roof collapsed in the fire and the lower floors suffered extensive water damage from the thousands of gallons of water used to contain the blaze. The remaining structure was unstable and had to be overturned.
Seven residents, five adults and two children, were displaced. The Western Massachusetts section of the American Red Cross was called in to help them find temporary shelter.
Piemonte said the remaining structure is unstable and will likely need to be demolished.
The house, a century-old wooden frame of 2 1/2 floors, is listed in the city registers as the property of resident Joseph R. Ramos. The property has a total appraisal of $ 236,000. Ramos bought it in June.
The neighboring property to the north, 37 Longfellow Terrace, sustained significant damage when it caught fire. This property was saved, but Piemonte estimated the damage to be around $ 30,000 to $ 40,000.
A garage on Ashmont Street to the east also caught fire, but firefighters put it out before it could cause much damage.
Piemonte said high winds contributed to the severity of the fire, both in terms of damage to 37 Longfellow and setting neighboring properties ablaze.
“The wind fed him,” he says.
He compared the effect of the wind to that of pouring gasoline on a flame.
The initial call for the fire arrived around 4 p.m. It quickly spread into the attic and devoured the roof.
As the fire spreads and escalates, the order is given to withdraw all firefighters from within and proceed to an outside attack.
Piemonte said the cause of the fire was still under investigation. It is believed to have started at the back of 43 Longfellow, but investigators have not been able to determine exactly how it started.
Investigators were on site Wednesday morning to try to determine the cause, he said.