Flames fueled by exploding propane tanks rip through 2 homes, 3 cars in Millbury

MILLBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - The Millbury fire chief was hospitalized early Wednesday morning as crews battled fierce flames that ripped through two homes, a garage and three cars in the town of Millbury.

Fire officials say the three-alarm blaze broke out just after 12 a.m. on the corner of John Street and Wheelock Avenue. They say the flames spread quickly, completely destroying one home and seriously damaging another. Three cars were also destroyed in the blaze.

An explosion involving “numerous” propane tanks was reported near the side of one of the homes before the fire broke out, according to officials. They say the release valves blew on the tanks, fueling the fire.

“It spread fast. Then there was a really strong breeze. It went to the tree. It went to the fencing. It went to a shed in the backyard and then just kept going,” said neighbor Robert Langlais.

Fire Chief Richard Hamilton was taken from the scene to UMass Medical Center with symptoms of dehydration and overheating. He has since been released from the hospital. Firefighters say extreme heat made it difficult to battle the flames.

Everyone inside the homes made it out safely. No other injuries were reported. One neighbor who spotted the flames is being credited with helping get everyone out.

“You could feel the heat,” neighbor Arnaldo Burgos said. “I knocked on my neighbor’s house and told him to run out. By the time he woke up, his home was engulfed bad, but he was able to get out.”

A demolition crew was called in to rip down the burnt out home. Officials say it was too dangerous to leave standing.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The state fire marshal was called to the scene.

(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)