Firefighters battling an intense blaze “barely escaped” a ball of flames that erupted from a business on Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton yesterday morning, according to Boston Fire Department officials.
“At that point a decision was made to pull all [firefighters] out of the building,” said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Calobrisi.
The four-alarm fire, which was called in at 5:49 a.m., engulfed a string of one-story shops — including a pizza shop and a janitorial supply store — leading to a roof collapse.
The bitterly cold weather worsened the scenario for firefighters as ice froze to their suits and caused a slick sheath to form on the streets surrounding the scene.
“The weather was problematic,” said Calobrisi.
Two firefighters suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to officials.
Streets surrounding Chestnut Hill Avenue were blocked off to traffic as neighbors stood on the outskirts of the action, watching smoke billow from the buildings in massive plumes.
Christina Hein, 22, said she dined at the Italian eatery on that strip weekly and was upset about the loss.
“It’s really sad,” she said. “The owners of the place are really friendly.”
The strip of businesses that burned in the blaze included a catering company and a laundromat.
Neighbor Alex Buck, 22, said he woke up to the smell of smoke several blocks away from the fire.
“It’s crazy how smoky it is,” he said.
The cause of the fire, which started in the pizza shop on the corner, is still under investigation.
Behind the scenes
Water used to fight the blaze began to collect in the parking lot in back of the block of buildings that caught fire, threatening to flood in to an apartment on Embassy Road.
Fire official said roughly 1 foot of water was outside the apartment, where a sand barricade was constructed to prevent it from creeping inside.
Roughly 120 firefighters were on scene during the Brighton blaze.
Officials said it was just 14 degrees Fahrenheit when they responded to the fire.
A firehouse is stationed less than one block from where the blaze broke out.
Officials estimated the fire caused $4 million worth of damage.
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