Posted July 25, 2013, 4:11 p.m.
By Chris Orchard
About 45 residents were displaced, and eight homes were damaged—with possibly two destroyed—after a violent fire ripped through the structures on Calvin Street Thursday morning. Firefighters struck seven alarms, calling for help from across the region to battle the mammoth blaze.
You can find more updates, including videos of the fire and witness accounts, at the bottom of this article.
At least one firefighter was taken away from the scene on a stretcher, and a total of two were injured. All of the residents got out of their homes without being injured.
The fire damaged 15-29 Calvin St. along with 22 and 24 Bacon Place, according to the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. By late Thursday morning the Red Cross had set up a reception center for displaced residents at the nearby Argenziano School. The Red Cross did not know how many residents were displaced by the massive fire, but said 17 housing units were affected.
Somerville Fire Chief Kevin Kelleher said fire was showing at four homes when firefighters arrived shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday morning. The responding company immediately struck three alarms, the fire chief said.
As the fire worsened, firefighters struck more alarms, calling for support first from across the city and then from surrounding communities. Fire companies from Winchester, Belmont, Boston, Chelsea, Brookline, Malden and Cambridge were among those who responded to the scene.
According to Kelleher, it took firefighters two hours to finally contain the blaze. He would not speculate on the fire's cause, the number of people displaced or the monetary amount of damage done.
"This was a good fight, yes. This was a large fire," said Kelleher.
Chief Comments on Arson Concern, Investigation Under WayThursday's blaze was the fourth major fire in the neighborhood in two weeks, the third in the immediate neighborhood. On July 12 firefighters battled two early-morning fires that struck within half an hour of each other, one at 25 Lewis Street, one at 68 Rear Dane St. Both fires were approximately 300 feet—only a few blocks—from Thursday's Calvin Street multi-home blaze.
On July 19 firefighters battled another early-morning blaze in the neighborhood, this one at 27 Lake St., about a quarter of a mile away.
Asked if Thursday's fire was suspicions, Kelleher said, "I can't comment on that until we do an investigation."
"We've had a couple of fires. I wouldn't call them arson" until after the investigations, he said.
The Somerville Fire Department investigator, Somerville police and the state police fire investigation unit were all investigating the matter, Kelleher said.
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