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Suspicious Fire In Chelsea Apartment Building

CHELSEA (CBS) -- A suspicious Christmas Eve fire in Chelsea destroyed a four-unit apartment building on Bellingham Street.

Chelsea firefighters say someone set the blaze around 6 a.m. on the back porch, right outside the bedroom of a nine-year-old girl. A neighbor banged on everyone's doors and woke them up.

Chelsea Fire
Authorities say everyone got out of the building safely. (credit: CBS)

Nina Burgos says she and her children were sound asleep, and she's afraid to imagine what would have happened if her neighbor hadn't woken them up.

"When I came out I saw the flames. It was just a horrific scene," she said.

While no one who lived in the building was hurt in the fire, all of the Christmas gifts inside were destroyed.

Burgos says her daughter can't understand the Christmas tragedy. "Just seeing her face. She was all tears this morning. I try to console her that everything's going to be okay, but it's hard to explain that to a nine-year-old."

Firefighters had to battle slick conditions with freezing roads, as well as a fast moving and smoky fire. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Deputy Chief John Quatieri says they had "zero visibility when we first got here. The guys had trouble even seeing the building. There were very smoky conditions on arrival."

WBZ News Radio's Carl Stevens reports from the scene.


The firefighters rushed to help get everyone out, but the fire had a head start on them and was too much to control.

"The roof started to collapse. It's very icy and it was getting too dangerous to keep the guys inside," said Quatieri.

There is extensive damage to the building, but firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to adjacent homes.

If anyone wants to donate Christmas gifts to the fire victims, you can drop them off at the Chelsea Fire Department this afternoon.

WBZ-TV's Karen Anderson reports.

WBZ News Radio's Carl Stevens and WBZ-TV's Karen Anderson contributed to this report.


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