WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Around 100 residents were evacuated from an elderly housing complex in Westfield after a serious fire.
The fire took place around 10:00 P.M. at the Washington House on Washington Street . A thick, black smoke was seen coming from the top of the building. Westfield Housing Authority Executive Director Daniel Kelly told 22News that it's believed that the fire began in Apartment 313, which is on the building's third story.
On that floor when the fire started, Washington House resident Francis Huidekoper came to the rescue of one man who was stuck in a burning apartment.
"There was a gentleman standing at the end of the emergency exit, asking for help- he had a cane. I went down there and what he was asking for was, a person, whose apartment was totally engulfed in flames- in the kitchen- was lying on the floor, and he couldn't physically get up and get out of the apartment," Huidekoper said.
Kelly told 22News that three people were taken to the hospital, but police say they were treated and released.
Huidekoper brushed-off any suggestion that he was a hero for the man he rescued, whose name he doesn't even know. "It's nothing. You would've done the same thing if you saw somebody who is down and helpless and needed your help," he said. "But it's not a hero, it's what any good human being would do.
There are a total of 112 apartments in Washington House. Residents who live in one half of the building were able to return to their apartments. Fifty six other apartments, however, are still closed-off as those units are completely without electricity.
The American Red Cross of Greater Westfield helped those who were homeless find a place to stay. They set up a temporary shelter at the Central Baptist Church on Elm Street. Executive Director of the Westfield Red Cross Chapter, Richard Rubin, told 22News that 13 residents stayed the night.
Washington, School, Central, King and Court Streets were closed Monday night, but were re-opened Tuesday morning.
There is still no word on what caused the fire. The State Fire Marshal is investigating Tuesday afternoon.