60-80 people left homeless after Belmont Avenue fire

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A terrifying morning for residents in Springfield abruptly woken up by fire, smoke and alarms blaring.

Springfield Fire Department Spokesman Dennis Leger told 22News a child and an elderly woman are among those who were injured in the fire. He also  confirmed the fire started on the second floor.He said fire code back when this apartment was built did not require a sprinkler system but the building did have an alarm system. 

People throwing themselves down from the windows. Victims huddled in the cold while firefighters battled the flames, and the elements. Thick smoke billowed from the windows of the 4 story Belmont Avenue apartments dozens left homeless.

It will be up to the District Attorney’s office to give out information on the people who die

22News talked to a resident who didn’t want to be identified, but her story of survival speaks for itself.

The resident told 22News, “It was just black smoke. I opened the back door. The porches were on fire. I opened the front door. It was just once again, black smoke. I just grabbed my stuff and tried to go down the stairs. It was hard. I even fell down the stairs because there was so much smoke.”

Once she made it outside, she put her own life in jeopardy going back in the first floor banging on doors.

She said, “I went right back inside and I started knocking on the first floor just to make sure everybody was out.

But not everyone made it out alive.”

22News was there as a body was removed covered in a white sheet.

Three people are dead, four more injured. Many of the victims came to America from Somalia.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News the city is making an all the efforts to help the victims, “We did some outreach to Jewish family services which is a settlement agency. I’ve had some people who are able to translate in Somalian for us to get information.”

Between 60 and 80 people are without a place to live. Springfield has established a shelter for those people. The Red Cross and PVTA are assisting the victims.

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