ATHOL — At least eight people were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries Tuesday after a fire in a multi-family home at the corner of Hapgood and Cottage streets, according to the Athol fire chief.
John Duguay said the call came in at 1:11 p.m. and dozens of firefighters from at least five departments responded to battle the blaze that engulfed a two-story structure at 275-277 Hapgood St. Shortly before 4 p.m., Duguay said the fire was under control.
Authorities blocked off portions of the surrounding roads, including Hapgood Street at its intersection with Prospect and Cheney streets, and Cottage Street at its intersection with Chestnut Street. An Athol police officer said power to the street was cut off. At 3:13 p.m., Duguay said the state fire marshal’s office and a hazardous materials team were en route to assist in the investigation.
Firefighters perched on cherry pickers used hoses to douse the structure with water. Most water was aimed at the roof, causing debris to fall to the ground and litter some fenced-in land.
Two women who said they lived in the building declined to comment about the fire and declined to give their names.
Athol Town Manager Shaun A. Suhoski and Selectman William Caldwell were on the scene.
Salvation Army Athol Corps Lt. Michael Buzzard said the organization’s local chapter dispatched its emergency disaster service to provide first responders and victims with food and drink. A table was set up with water, sports drinks and granola bars. Buzzard, who is the chaplain at the Athol Fire Department, said the Salvation Army would also help displaced people by arranging shelter, food and clothing. He also said the organization brought blankets and, for the first time, face masks that were left over from a painting project.
“We saw that was a new need,” he said.
Buzzard said there were three Salvation Army volunteers on site, in addition to himself and his wife, Lt. Jennifer Buzzard.
Greenfield Ambulance, Turners Falls Ambulance and Wood’s Ambulance were also on scene.
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