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22 Displaced After Fire Shuts Down Part Of Cambridge Neighborhood

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Twenty-two people are displaced Monday after flames tore through two buildings in Cambridge. The four-alarm fire broke out around 5:40 a.m. in a triple-decker home on Hunting Street.

It quickly spread to the adjacent building on Cambridge Street.

One resident said he was woken up when, "we heard a voice say 'get out of the building, there's a fire."

"I lost everything," he added. "Everything is gone."

cambridge fire
The fire on Hunting Street early Monday morning. (Photo credit: Cambridge Fire Dept.)

Cambridge Acting Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney said the first crews on scene saw smoking coming from the third floor of the Hunting Street building. They "originally thought the fire was on the top floor. Turns out the fire was in the basement area and traveling up the through the building."

Members of the Somerville, Boston, Watertown, and Belmont fire departments were called in to help.

"Firefighters did search both fire buildings extensively. Conditions deteriorated to the point where we had to pull everybody out and engage an exterior operation," said Mahoney.

No one, including firefighters, was seriously injured. All pets were safely removed as well.

cambridge fire
The fire on Hunting Street early Monday morning. (WBZ-TV)

Cold temperatures and the structure of the two buildings made putting the flames out difficult.

"These are both old – even though this has a brick face on it, this is a wood-frame building with a brick vainer on it. So both of these buildings are old, wood-frame buildings, probably late 1800s, early 1900s. [In] a wood-frame construction, fire travels pretty easily," Mahoney explained.

Additionally, "both of these buildings have had extensive renovation work done off and on so there's a lot of trapped, hidden areas we're trying to get to," he said.

Firefighters blocked off surrounding roads as they worked and cut off power to the entire neighborhood. The fire took five hours to contain.

One man standing nearby commented, "There was smoke everywhere, all the way down the street…probably about nine or ten blocks, easy."

Along with housing, the Sunset Cafe is located in the Cambridge Street building. Known as a stable in the community, the cafe was destroyed.

It's not clear what started the fire.

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