• Hundreds of residents evacuated after apartment fire, water damage in Newton


    NEWTON, Mass. - An apartment fire in Newton forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents on Monday.

    The evacuation occurred as the region was experiencing heavy rainfall.

    "It’s pretty inconvenient, but we’re all healthy and alive and safe," said Marion Knapp.

    Residents of the Tower apartments rolled out suitcases in the pouring rain, without knowing when they'll be able to return home. 

    "It's inconvenient because you imagine you arrive from a work day and then you have to evacuate to find a hotel room or a place to stay," said Newton Fire Chief Bruce Proia.

    He says they had to put out a fire in one unit on the eighth floor of the South Tower, but now that the fire's out, there's a bigger problem. 

    "Because of all the water that was used, both with the sprinkler and with the hose lines, water leaked down into the electrical control room, to the electrical switchgear that controls both the north and the south towers," he said. 

    Now nearly 800 people living in more than 400 units of the buildings have been forced to leave while crews fix the electrical issue from all the water.

    The chief said the evacuations took all day, with many elderly residents needing extra assistance.

    "We lost elevators a lot of it was trucking down even from the 12th floor assisting them down the stairwell some of them this is an elderly population, some of them had to be evacuated with stair chairs," the chief said. 

    Many residents stayed positive in this tough situation, as they find another place to sleep.

    "Look at what happens all over the world these horrible bombings and everything, honestly is this that big a deal? It really isn’t," said Lauren, a resident. 

    The fire chief says they need at least 24 hours to see if they can fix this electrical issue. 

    The American Red Cross responded to assist displaced residents.

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