CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A plume of fire came bursting through the windows of 36 Artisan Street in Chicopee early Saturday morning, forcing 15 people from their home in the middle of the night.
Chicopee Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Cross told 22News the fire at the six-family apartment building started around 12:30 Saturday morning.
The fire started on the third floor, but hours later, even the first floor had visible water damage. Sheryl Maldonado lived on the first floor of the building, and she told 22News they have no idea when they’ll be allowed to go back home. “I have to look out for another house I think, I’m here with my husband and my two kids, and my mother in law, that’s it. No family here,” she said.
The fire was devastating for the people who lost their home, and their neighbors, who spent their night waiting for the ferocious flames to die down. Yamara Garcia lives across the street and she said she’s never seen anything quite like it. “That was insane, this whole neighborhood was out in the street. We were just standing outside, watching, and then I saw a fireman carry a young woman out of the building and put her on the next door driveway,” she said.
That woman was rushed to the hospital. She lives with her boyfriend, but was home alone when the fire started. Her boyfriend’s brother, Andrew St. Pierre told 22News he came as soon as he heard, he said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked up and saw the apartment the couple shared, gutted and black with ash. “He is doing ok, she had a lot of smoke inhalation, and she’s still in the hospital. It’s a tough time right now, they lost everything,” he said.
No word as to what caused the fire, or how long those 15 residents will have to wait before they can go back home. The Red Cross is helping six of them find a place to stay.
A “GoFund me” page has been created for the couple who lost their belongings. -gofundme/stpierrefire