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Nine people, including seven firefighters, were hospitalized with minor injuries during a fire near the Dorchester-Mattapan line that started inside a vacant building and spread to seven surrounding buildings late Saturday afternoon.
The fire began at 4:45 p.m. at 39 Old Morton St. in the area known as Lower Mills, according to the Boston Fire Department. Authorities said the fire likely caused millions of dollars in damage.
The American Red Cross of Massachusetts set up a shelter at the Boston Center for Youth and Families Gallivan Community Center for people displaced by the fire, according to the Boston Police Department.
Red Cross spokesman Jeff Hall said Sunday the organization is helping a couple of dozen people who were forced from their homes.
"[W]e're gonna keep following up with these folks over the next three to four weeks to make sure that they are on the path to recovery," Hall said. "Probably half of those people were affected directly by the fire and are not going to be able to go back to their home."
One homeowner called it an “inferno,” affecting at least eight homes and leaving multiple others temporarily uninhabitable.
Sorting through charred family relics, Gary Tondorf-Dick said it took nine firefighters to fight back the fire that burned down his roof — and now he's got his work cut out for him in restoring his house.
“I just retired — I can’t believe it — I wasn’t planning on doing this, but hey, I count my blessings," Tondorf-Dick said. "Nobody was in this house when the fire came and all this house was rebuildable— most of these [houses] are not.”
Christine Rosado lives across the street from the house that went up in flames.
"It's hard, it's hard to see so many neighbors' lives just, everything, their memories destroyed — people who have lived in this neighborhood for years," Rosado said.
Firefighters remained on the scene Sunday morning to make sure any remaining hot spots in the buildings were put out. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
With reporting from WBUR's Hannah Chanatry and Símon Rios
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