Firefighters from six communities battled heavy smoke and flames, the elements and a broken hydrant to put a three-alarm fire on Williams Street, Thursday night.
The alarm for the blaze at 27 Williams St. came in at about 6 p.m., and when the Watertown Fire Department arrived they found heavy smoke coming from the back of the three-story, multi-family home, said Watertown Deputy Fire Chief Rob Iannetta. Locating the fire, however, was not so easy.
“Smoke was showing in the back but the fire was actually in the front,” Iannetta said.
Two residents who were home at the time got out on their own, but one suffered serious burns and was taken to hospital, Iannetta said. In total, 16 people lived in the home, which Iannetta said was declared uninhabitable by the Building Inspector.
“It was a total loss,” Iannetta said.
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Two firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion and were treated. Iannetta said they were not seriously injured and were home recovering on Friday.
The cause of the fire appears to be a mini-fridge that was kept near combustable materials, Iannetta said.
“It was close to a pipe chase and the fire went from the second floor to the third floor,” Iannetta said.
When firefighters first tried to hook hoses up to a nearby hydrant, the hydrant spun around and leaked water. Iannetta said he believes a vehicle struck the hydrant but it was not reported.
“The DPW was on scene and they got it working,” Iannetta said.
The fire did significant damage to the upper two floors, and eventually the roof collapsed.
“When the fire came through the roof I got everyone out,” Iannetta said.
It took about two hours for the fire to be brought under control, during which time a thunder storm with heavy rain rolled through.
“It cooled us off, but it didn’t help put out the fire because the roof collapsed on the fire,” Iannetta said.
Watertown Firefighters got assistance from firefighters from Cambridge, Newton, Waltham, Belmont and Boston, Iannetta said.