CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — An early morning fire in Cambridge took out two buildings and left nearly 20 people without a home on Monday morning.
According to tenants, the fire department was called at around 1 a.m. for reports of smoke, but left after they didn't find anything.
However, just before 5:30 a.m., the department was called back to 6 Hunting Street for a fire that quickly began to spread.
Firefighters spent hours trying to put out the fire, which could be seen blowing out of windows as heavy smoke took over the area.
Fire officials say they believe the fire started at 6 Hunting Street and made its way into 855 Cambridge Street, as the buildings are so close together they nearly touch.
"Lots of screams," said Kamesh Tumuluri. "I thought it was a TV and someone increased the volume of the TV."
About 20 people lost their homes and a popular restaurant nearby, the Sunset Cafe, was also destroyed.
John Rollins, a tenant in the building, tells Boston 25 News he and his family lost everything. Rollins relied on the help from the Red Cross for emergency supplies at the shelter.
"We lost our computers, we lost our bed, we lost our couch - it's literally just the normal stuff and at this point you just have to figure out how to get it all back," said Rollins.
After the fire department evacuated all the occupants in both buildings, the city of Cambridge brought in an MBTA bus to keep everyone warm and bring them over to the Frisoli Community Center to receive help from the Red Cross while firefighters continued to battle the blaze.
No resident in the building was injured, but some firefighters did sustain minor injuries, mostly slips and falls due to the icy conditions at the time. Acting Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney told Boston 25 one firefighter needed stitches to his hand.
The fire happened just around the corner from where Cambridge firefighters battled a huge fire back in 2016 which also forced multiple tenants to evacuate.
"That was horrific because I got my grandson out of the building and then the explosions began, so we just kept walking," said Jan Sparrows.
Victims in this week's fire said they are thankful the damage was not as severe, but know they still have a lot to deal with.
"It takes a lot to get your bearings to figure out what's going on, where is everyone going to regroup, what is happening here," said Rollins.
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