Families unsure of when they can return home after Springfield fire

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belmont street fire.jpg

Forty-one people are left without a home after a massive fire tore through two apartment buildings on Belmont Avenue Tuesday night. According to Springfield fire spokesman Dennis Leger, the fire spread from the back porch of 306 Belmont Ave. to 298 Belmont Ave.

“Honestly, it looked like something out of a nightmare,” said Robert Barber, who watched firefighters work on Tuesday. “I’m just happy the families got out.”

Two people were taken to Baystate Medical Center after breathing in too much smoke. 

“You could hear it from blocks away, the crackling of the fire and everything,” said Hector Rodriguez, who lives down the street from the burned apartments. “The whole building was like a big brush fire. You really couldn’t see anything but fire. You couldn’t see the building at all. It was all flames.”

One woman who lives on the top floor of the building is unsure when or if she will be able to get back inside to see what’s left of her home. 

“Right now, they told us we can’t go inside because it’s not safe,” said Maria Rodriguez-Galarza. “Then, when it’s safe, people can go in to see if we can grab whatever we can grab.”

Rodriguez-Galarza said her family was able to stay in a hotel with the help of the Red Cross. 

This fire comes just over a year after three people were killed in an apartment building fire on the same street, just blocks away.

“It’s horrible, especially in the neighborhood,” said Adolfo Cortez. “There’s always something happening up here.”

State and city fire officials are still working to determine what caused the fire.

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