At least two people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and dozens are left without a home after an apartment fire that extended to a nearby building on Belmont Avenue early Tuesday evening.
Springfield fire and police were called to the area of 306 Belmont Avenue to assist around 5:28 p.m. According to Springfield Fire Department spokesman Dennis Leger, the district chief ordered the “all out” alarm about a half-hour after firefighters got to the burning building. Fire crews had to evacuate to keep them from getting trapped in the building.
A second alarm was called shortly after crews arrived when the fire from the rear porches at 306 Belmont Avenue stretched to an apartment building next door at 300 Belmont Avenue. Leger said the fire burned all four apartments at 298 Belmont Ave. Everyone in that building was able to get out.
“I thought it was my house,” said Samuel Rodriguez of Springfield. “My stuff, I’ve got all my stuff over there. Thank god everybody is outside.”
Eight units at 306 Belmont Ave. were also affected by the fire, making it a total of 12 apartments destroyed. A total of 41 residents including 10 families from both apartment buildings were forced to find another place to stay. The Red Cross is assisting.
Fire officials are expected to be on Belmont Avenue Tuesday night into the early morning hours of Wednesday. Traffic on Belmont Avenue was affected by the fire as crews had blocked off the road to control the fire.
Springfield Arson and Bomb Squad officials are trying to determine what caused the fire.