Heavy Fire Guts Mass. Apartment Building

FALL RIVER, Mass. – Firefighters were alerted around 1 a.m. on Feb. 24 for a possible fire at 120 Diman Street, an occupied three-story, wood frame, six-unit apartment building. Engine 3 arrived to find heavy fire showing from the third floor front unit. All occupants were safely evacuated as firefighters went into action. An aggressive interior attack commenced up the side A front stairwell to attempt to stop the raging fire.

As the interior firefight was ongoing, the truck companies went into operation on the roof, venting the large attic space. Heavy smoke was pushing from the vast complex, making conditions on the roof treacherous. The OIC special called two extra engines and a ladder over the working fire due to the deteriorating circumstances, filling out the second alarm assignment. The interior companies radioed that they believed the bulk of the fire was knocked down on the third floor and that hooks were needed to open up.

Heavy fire was found in the attic space as the ceilings were opened on the third floor. The flame spread in the attic was intense. Heavy fire was found in every spot the ceilings were pulled. Firefighters tried to place charged hose lines through the attic scuttle hole but were beaten back due to the high heat. The incident commander made the decision to evacuate all companies from the structure as heavy fire was now pushing from the vent hole on the roof line.

Ladder pipes and exterior hand lines were readied as the building was vacated. The bulk of the heavy fire was contained and knocked down as the roof line burned away in roughly 20 minutes. The firefighters were allowed to reenter the structure to continue opening up to find the hidden pockets of fire. Extensive overhauling continued for hours after the chief gave the under control signal. No injuries were reported to firefighters or residents. The building sustained heavy fire damage to the third floor front apartment and to the entire roof, along with heavy water damage to the rest of the structure. The cause is undetermined at this time.