SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - A police officer and an off-duty firefighter who were the first to arrive at a fast-moving fire in Somerville on Thursday are being credited with making sure the 10 people who were home at the time made it out safely.

Fire crews responding to a reported structure fire in a triple-decker on Central Street around 6 a.m. found flames shooting out of the roof and a large plume of smoke rising into the sky. Bystander video shows the rear porch on the third floor was fully engulfed in flames.

“I just heard people outside being like ‘is everyone out of the house? Get out of the house!'” said Amanda Visvis, who lived in the apartment building and heard the flames crackling. “It sounded like it was raining and I was like ‘No, it can’t be!’ so I went out to the window and that was when I saw little pieces of ash and things on fire and saw and smelled the smoke.”

Video from SKY7-HD showed firefighters using ladder trucks to douse the flames, which were under control by about 7 a.m. Damage to the building was mostly contained to the rear of the third floor but all three floors suffered water damage.

The fierce flames also damaged two nearby homes, melting siding with heat so strong that neighbors could feel it through their walls.

“I heard rain sounds – and I looked to my left and there was no rain, and then my room started getting hot a little bit, and then that’s when I opened the window to my right and I saw the fire, which was pretty crazy because I thought I was dreaming,” said JB Genece.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

No additional information was immediately available.

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