MILLBURY (CBS) – Millbury's fire chief was rushed to the hospital overnight during an explosion-fueled blaze that destroyed one home and damaged two others.
Firefighters were called to a burning house on Wheelock Avenue just after midnight and the fire jumped to three alarms.
"We had multiple explosions in the back. We had various propane tanks on the side of the building that the relief went off. They were only small tanks, 20-pound tanks and 100-pound cylinder tanks and we controlled that also," Millbury Deputy Fire Chief David Rudge told reporters.
Everyone inside the homes escaped safely, but the fire chief was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester to be treated for heat exhaustion.
He was released later in the morning and is reportedly doing well.
Arnaldo Burgos lives near the burned homes. He banged on doors to wake his neighbors up as the fire grew.
"Happy for everybody to get out. Like I said you can't replace life. Materials, he can build a new house, he's a builder. Make his house even better. But you can't replace none of your family if they are gone, no matter what," Burgos told WBZ-TV.
One of the three homes was completely destroyed. Four adults and two children were displaced.
A second home was heavily damaged. The owner of that house, Robert Langlais, said the home next to them where the fire started has been a big problem for years.
"More and more junk was brought into the property," said Langlais. "It was a match stick waiting to light up."
Town manager David Marciello was familiar with the home.
He added, "it been an ongoing issue with the town, and various departments have had complaints and violations and reports."
"The way this fire was, we did an outside attack only, we did not go inside the building," said Deputy Chief Rudge. "We protected the exposures around the building, we had three other houses that had fire on them also that we had to deal with."
The destroyed home was later covered with tarp to protect firefighters from possible hazards.
Janet Richardson, who lives across the street from where the fire began, said the flames went up very fast in the wind.
"The trees caught fire like matchsticks, and it went down really fast," she said.
She said she was scared by the speed of the blaze.
"I was frightened for the family, I didn't know who was in the house and not in the house," she said. "I was frightened for my neighbors. It was pretty scary."
Langlais's home is unlivable and he said he must rebuild.
"It's a scary night, a scary day, now we have to pick up and move on from it," he said.
There's no word yet on what caused the fire.
The State Fire Marshall's Office is investigating.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports
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