The Fire Brings out the Best of the Eastie Community

It sometimes takes a seven-alarm fire in our neighborhood to aid us in putting into proper perspective what is important about our lives and what is not.

The miracle, obviously, was not the fire – which had the look and feel of rolling thunder and overlapping flames. The fire was the devil incarnate.

The God-like miracle is that no one died and no one was injured.

The Chelsea Street blaze that destroyed six units in side by side twin brick turn of the 20th Century three storey homes was a cruel fate for the 30 or so decent people who now have lost nearly all their furniture and clothing and who will never likely return to their former homes.

The buildings, what remained of them, were torn down by demolition crews Monday afternoon.

And so, what used to be a lovely, old brick side by side has become an empty hole in the ground in a 24 hour turn around.

However, we wish to note that a Wakefield man, Paul Antonino, ran into the building upon seeing the smoke and flames as he drove by. He kicked two doors down and warned the residents inside who had not the slightest notion a major fire was underway upstairs. He led them to safety.

Most of those living in the buildings were elderly and had lived in the buildings almost without incident for most of their lives.

The responding Boston firefighters – about 140 in all- did a tremendous job of bringing the inferno under control.

Mayor Menino appeared at the scene and promised those displaced that they would not be thrown into the street by this disaster which will have the effect of changing their lives. He said the full resources of the city were being made available to them and that temporary housing would be provided for them until everything about the disaster was sorted out.

Monday morning, Richard Gavegnano, the president of the East Boston Savings Bank announced that a fire fund was being set up at the bank and the bank contributed the first $2500 to that fund. Gavegnano grew-up in a three-decker not too far from where the fire occurred on Chelsea Street.

Fire investigators pouring over the charred ruins of the building have not yet found the cause of the fire, which appeared to have started in a top floor unit.

We offer our heartfelt sorrow to those who lost everything. This was a tremendous tragedy made only slightly less tragic in the knowledge that no one died and no one was seriously injured.

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