Fire destroys Hamilton Street house; view story to see video
By Maria Papadopoulos, Enterprise staff writer
BROCKTON— Eleven-year-old Dana Mitchell ran outside his Hamilton Street home Tuesday afternoon when he and his brother saw flames tearing through the house next door.
“There was fire (coming) out of the window and on the roof,” said Mitchell, who called his mother home from work when he saw the two-alarm blaze before evacuating his home.
The boy was among dozens of bystanders looking on as firefighters battled flames engulfing a vacant home at 21 Hamilton St.
(Photo by R. Myers First Due Companies Begin Suppression Operations Upon Arrival)
Emergency medical responders raced to the scene, but no injuries were reported.
Fire officials called the fire suspicious Tuesday night.
“It was a vacant house, so the fact that anyone is in there is going to be suspicious,” Deputy Fire Chief George Phillips said.
Earlier, as news helicopters circled overhead, firefighters hastily attached hoses to several street hydrants to draw water. Some firefighters were hoisted high up on ladders with their hoses to extinguish flames on the roof of the 21/2-story building.
Heavy smoke made it difficult to see the home and surrounding areas in the neighborhood.
Brockton High School student George Waugh was on his way home from school when he saw the heavy smoke, got off his school bus with some friends, ran to his Moraine Street home and grabbed his bike.
“I called 911 on my cell phone, and I was like, 'Yeah I want to report a fire' and they said (fire officials) were on their way,” Waugh said. “Then I got here and I see this. That's horrible.”
It was the second house fire Waugh witnessed in one week. The teen saw police and firefighters respond to a house fire on Moraine Street that killed former City Councilor George Papas last week. Waugh lives a few houses away from the Papas residence.
At one point Tuesday, as flames billowed from several windows, a fire official yelled to firefighters not to venture inside the Hamilton Street home.
“The fire had a pretty good head start on us. We could see smoke in the distance,” Deputy Fire Chief Edward Mack said at the scene as crews worked around him.
No one was inside the home at the time of the fire, Mack said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Firefighters used large lines and ladder pipes to knock down the heavy fire, Mack said. Officials planned to tear down the house, destroyed by the fire, on Tuesday night.
The name of the owner of the building was not available Tuesday. A neighbor said nobody lives in the building.
A street box alarm at Hamilton and Belmont streets was pulled to initially report the fire at 2:40 p.m., fire officials said. Several 911 calls followed.
Responding to the scene were crews from Squad A, Ladder 1, Tower 1 and engine companies 2, 4, 5 and 7. Fire Chief Kenneth Galligan and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Baker of the city's Fire Prevention Unit also responded.
Brockton received mutual aid from the West Bridgewater and Avon fire departments.