TAUNTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Intense flames tore through a multi-family home in Taunton on Tuesday, forcing residents to jump from windows in order to escape with their lives.
Crews responding to a reported structure fire at the multi-family home on Harrison Street around 8:20 p.m. found residents jumping to safety out of second-floor windows, according to Taunton Fire Lt. Eric Nichols.
Marie Pearson was one of the residents who escaped the flames by leaping out a window thanks to the encouragement of fellow resident Brittani Albanese.
“We couldn’t get out of the door, so she finally pushed a window in and pushed me…(Albanese) she saved my life and I made it out,” Pearson said through tears.
Albanese recalled running up the stairs to help as many people as she could.
“I pulled the screen out and I helped two people that lived on the first floor out of the burning building,” she said.
However, Albanese could not reach everyone.
“The person on the third floor punched out the window and hopped on the roof on the second floor,” she added.
Heavy smoke and flames could be seen pouring out of the house more than two hours after the blaze broke out. Firefighters worked to ensure the flames did not spread to any adjacent homes.
The house is over 100 years old and part of the roof collapsed under the pressure as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.
“This was a significant fire,” Fire Chief Timothy Bradshaw said. “Anytime that we go defensive on arrival, the home is going to sustain significant damage and that is going to be the case here.”
The 11 people who were forced out of their home say they escaped with their lives but not much else.
“We lost everything,” Pearson said.
One firefighter was treated at the scene for a heat-related condition. He is expected to be OK.
“At this time right now, we believe everyone got out of the building safely,” Nichols said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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