SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Six fires in 36 hours: that’s what the Springfield Fire Department dealt with early Sunday morning into Monday.
Investigators say three of those fires are believed to be arson at an apartment building on Union Street. Three other fires on Hancock, Andrews, and Worcester streets left four houses unlivable.
“It’s been a tough 24 hours with the extreme cold and the ice on the streets and the sidewalks and the amount of fires we’ve had. They’ve done a tremendous job, no one’s been hurt up to this point,” said Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant.
At least 16 people have to find another place to stay after having their homes destroyed by the fires. One woman told 22News how quickly she saw the fire spread while she was still inside.
“When we tried to get out the back way, we couldn’t get out. The whole back was completely engulfed in flames, went through the back bedroom, and that’s when we were like: ‘we have to get out of here,'” said Holly Gilbert who made it out of her home on Hancock Street safely.
The commissioner said in addition to the number of fires they’ve been fighting in the city over the past 48 hours, the freezing temperatures have also made it very difficult to fight these fires.” “We did have problems yesterday with the hose freezing in the overnight fires. It seems to be a little bit warmer today, the streets are icing up and the sidewalks are icing up.”
At one point Sunday morning, the Springfield Fire Department needed help from the Chicopee and West Springfield departments, because they were at so many fires.