Four-alarm fire tears through Somerville apartments

UPDATE: See comments section for Somerville FD response to issue of how long it took firefighters to get to the scene.

Ed Bauer reports a fire in a six-apartment building at 106 Walnut St. around 5:15 a.m. went to four alarms. Photo.

One of the residents, Ksenia, reports she escaped with little more than the shirt on her back, her purse and her phone, which she used while standing outside to tweet:

we live THREE blocks from a fire station. Our house is on fire and we've been waiting for a response for 10min

Oh btw. Our house is on fire. We could be freaking out, but I'm not wearing a bra and DOMA is gone... Plus it's freezing outside. :)

I've had more smoke inhalation at a frat party. And BU trained us pretty well :) (it is serious, I'm just too asleep to process)

I'm feeling so zen about this whole fire thing. Maybe it's the smoke inhalation.

Oh no. Just got an email that my library book is due tomorrow.... Ummmm.....

Everything smells like a summer Bon-fire. Also helping my zen. :)

Firemen breaking through our roof. So I'm gonna guess it's all gone. Cue Madonna's Material Girl. :p

Hour in, fire still going strong. But I found mascara and a Chewy bar in my purse. Little victories. :)

Wait, AND IT'S PAY DAY!!!! I'm assuming we don't have to pay rent next month. #Winning.

The American Red Cross reports 23 people may now need new places to live.

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      Comments

      Is it true that this had

      By on

      Is it true that this had something to do with a shoddy National Grid patch job in the basement?

      Also curious about that 10+ minute response time if they really are 3 blocks away. Are there any statistics for fire response in Somerville? I didn't see anything on the Somerville website. That building might not be wired to notify the fire dept when the alarm goes off so someone would still have to call 911. I'm not sure people realize that when they see a fire alarm panel in their building.

      Lol. It's actually a dress.

      By on

      Lol. It's actually a dress. But thanks. :) We're all safe, that's all that matters. (our thoughts are with everyone around the world from Syria to India who have it so much worse)

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      I thought she was hyperbolizing

      By on

      She wasn't. Google maps shows FOUR fire stations within 3/10ths of a mile:
      IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/P7XepCa.png)

      NFPA recommendation is five minutes. Why did it take Somerville FD twice that?

      City of Somerville disputes 10-minute response time report

      I posted this UHub story on the City of Somerville's Facebook page, and got this response:

      According to Fire Dept. records it took 4 minutes and 30 seconds exactly from the moment the call to SFD ended until Engine 2 was on scene: that includes dispatch, turnout, and travel combined, which is considered an excellent response time. The call itself lasted 32 seconds, so with that included the entire time from call to arrival was 5 minutes and 2 seconds.The Somerville Fire Dept. has one of the best response times in the nation. Fourteen engines and 11 ladder trucks responded from Somerville and eight neighboring towns. Our thoughts are with the displaced residents and families and the crew that are still on scene. Our thanks also go out to the companies who came to help from Cambridge, Medford, Boston, Everett, Chelsea, Belmont, Malden and Brookline.
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      We're glad that Ms. Ksenia

      By on

      We're glad that Ms. Ksenia and all of the building's residents are safe and our thoughts are with the nearly 30 persons who were displaced, as well as the firefighters who are still on scene. According to Somerville Fire Dept. records it took 4 minutes and 30 seconds exactly from the moment the 32-second call to SFD ended until Engine 2 was on scene: that includes dispatch, turnout, and travel combined, which is considered an excellent response time. Fourteen engines and 11 ladder trucks responded from Somerville and eight neighboring towns. Our thanks go out to the companies who came to help from Cambridge, Medford, Boston, Everett, Chelsea, Belmont, Malden and Brookline, as well as to the Red Cross, which quickly arrived to assist those who lost their homes in this terrible fire. We are also grateful there was no loss of life and that no injuries have been reported at this time.--Denise Taylor on behalf of the City of Somerville

      I assume it was a cell phone

      I assume it was a cell phone call made to 911, which means the call was first answered by the State Police, who would have transferred the call to SFD once they had the location and nature of incident. That adds at least a few more seconds.

      Honestly I didn't time it.

      By on

      Honestly I didn't time it. I'm sure the Fire Dept is correct. At the time of the tweet, we didn't realize how serious the situation was. Thus the rudeness of the tweet. We have had several false fire alarms this year, so the wait seemed much longer than it took in the past. I'm also sure the wait seemed like forever when it really wasn't (and I guess my internal count down started from when the central building alarm went off at 5am, not the phone call). The Police did get there somewhat before the fire dept. did, which added to the sense of waiting.

      The fire dept was amazing. They stayed on the scene till at least 11:30am (when we left) and there were trucks from all around Greater Boston. They did an amazing job, and even walked us inside helping us get what we needed. The fire itself lasted a good three hours.

      Once again, I do apologize for the hyperbole. And thanks to everyone for their kind words and thoughts.

      As far as national grid, who actually knows? They were supposed to fix the pipping, which they didn't do very well. And there was a gas pipe on fire at one point. The fire dept is conducting a full investigation. Clearly I'm not the most reliable source. ;) But this is twitter, not an encyclopedia.

      No apology needed

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      Absolutely no apology needed on our end. We're just glad everyone is safe and also wanted to set the record straight for anyone else reading this. I'm terribly sorry that you and your neighbors have had to go through this traumatic experience and loss. Recovering from this and moving forward is all that matters here.