At least 140 firefighters from 17 area communities were fighting a 10-alarm fire on Saturday (3 December) that engulfed multiple buildings in Cambridge, Massachusetts, fire officials announced.
The massive fire reportedly began just before 3pm EDT (8pm GMT) on Bershire Street, a residential area.
According to the Boston Globe's Michael Workman, the fire enveloped a three-family home undergoing renovations before the blaze jumped across the street. The building later collapsed, WCVB reported.
Workman said the fire consumed another residence and hurled debris into the wind. A former church, which was converted into condominiums, and a vehicle parked in front of the home were also set ablaze.
"It went up in a heartbeat," Workman told The Globe. The bostonglobe.com designer said he saw the fire from his living room and called 911. "It was just raging...It was just going so fast. I've never seen anything like that."
Cambridge Firefighters Local 30 announced on Twitter that seven to eight buildings are involved in the blaze. The fire is near Kendall Square and the Kendall Square Cinema.
WBUR reported that at least one responder was being treated for smoke inhalation and a shelter has been opened at the War Memorial Recreation Centre in Cambridge for those displaced. The Red Cross said 60 people evacuated the area.
The power in the area surrounding the fire has been cut off by authorities. Energy company Eversource said that 1659 customers are without power because of the fire. According to WCVB, the State Fire Marshal's Office said most of the buildings affected are 3-storey homes.
"I just cannot imagine what some of these families are going to be experiencing right now," Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons said to WCVB. "This is family housing. We have children that live here and so I'm very concerned about them." The mayor said city will ensure that as many families as possible are sheltered come Monday (5 December).
Simmons later announced on Twitter the creation of a GoFundMe page for those affected by the fire. Within an hour, the crowdfunding page had surpassed $8,500 (£6,675).
Authorities said two police officers and one firefighter were injured in the fire. The extent of the injuries are unknown. CBS Boston reported that there are no known civilian injuries.