Just before 18:00 hours on July 19 2022, smoke began to rise into the sky over East Boston. Boston Firefighters quickly responded to Box 6186, the 300 block of Princeton St. to reports of a building fire. Upon their arrival, companies were met with heavy fire and smoke showing from the rear of a Triple Decker home located at 318 Princeton St. 2nd and 3rd Alarms were immediately struck on the orders or Car 1 (District 1 Chief).
Due to the proximity of the homes on Princeton St., the intense fire quickly extended to the neighboring houses at #’s 316 and 314. The tightness of space between the homes also made access to the rear difficult as well as making it challenging to throw ladders in between them.
The overwhelming amount of flames caused the stairwell inside the first building to burn completely through as well as all of the rear porches, causing safety concerns as well as additional egress issues.
As the fire continued to progress to the exposure buildings, a 4th alarm was struck, bringing additional companies from all over the city to the fire as well as out of town mutual aid companies into the city to cover Boston firehouses.
Command reported to fire alarm that the heavy fire was knocked down, primary searches on all three floors of all three buildings were negative and companies were working to open up and extinguish all areas of fire. There were 8 hose lines run.
The past few days in Boston have been labeled by many weather outlets as a ‘heat emergency’. Temperatures are in the 90s, which did not help the firefighters while they worked to get this fire under control. As a result, BFD had to circulate firefighters in and out of the buildings because of how fast they went through their SCBA bottles.
It was important for them to get relief, because of how fast the firefighters can get overheated in their gear. An order was given to all companies rehabbing outside the building to remove their bunker gear to avoid heat exhaustion. Due to the excessive heat, a 5th alarm was struck by C6 (Division 1 Chief) for manpower relief purposes bringing approximately 150 firefighters to the scene.
Boston firefighters displayed extremely hard work in this difficult situation, and were able to get all residents out of the buildings safely. Nine of these firefighters were reported to be suffering from heat related injuries in the aftermath, 5 were transported and 4 were treated on scene by BostonEMS . Unfortunately, a total of 20 adults and 8 children have been displaced by this fire, but each resident was able to make it out unharmed.
BFD Union President Sam Dillon said in a statement, “Our Members did an incredible job tonight. Heavy fire showing on arrival, spreading to adjacent homes, in the midst of a City heat emergency. They evacuated civilians and contained the fire, proving once again how vital proper staffing is to life safety. Without adequate manpower and dedicated Firefighters, East Boston loses a block of homes tonight, and they refused to let that happen.”