UPDATE: The fire had been slowly burning for an hour in the ceiling when it suddenly exploded into a fireball.
Two firefighters died battling a fast-moving fire at the Tai Ho Chinese restaurant on Centre Street tonight. Channel 4 reports that two more were on life support and that several others also suffered injuries; the Globe reports a total of 12 firefighters were injured.
The fire at 1727 Centre St., which shot flames into the night air, quickly went to four alarms after first erupting around 9 p.m. Channel 5 reports the firefighters became trapped when the roof collapsed.
Dead are Paul Cahill, 55, of Scituate, and Warren Payne, 53, of Canton, both of whom were among the first to respond to the fire from their station just down Centre Street.
The fire was largely contained to the restaurant and the neighboring Continental Shoppe pet-grooming store and L'Essence art gallery; however, the owner of a shop a few doors down reported extensive smoke damage to the entire block of stores, located across from the Roche Community Center.
Long after the flames were put out, owners and employees of neighboring shops and restaurants and nearby residents stood behind police tape at the intersection with Belgrade Avenue, either watching silently or trying to glean any information. A Boston Police K-9 unit stayed at the ready around the corner.
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