Springfield firefighters recognized for response to Belmont Ave. - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield firefighters recognized for response to Belmont Ave. fire

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Three months after an apartment fire claimed the lives of a father and his two children, firefighters are being credited with saving the lives of the other residents in the building. 

That fire on Belmont Avenue in Springfield is not one that firefighters at the White Street station will soon forget.

Today, they were recognized for their response. 

On March 18, this was the scene on Belmont Avenue in Springfield, flames billowing out of the apartment complex. 

People were scene jumping from windows to escape. 

"I think people forget when people are running out of that building, these guys and police are running in to save lives," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

It was no ordinary call.  No one inside the building called 911, only the automated alarm dispatched firefighters. 

Engine 3 and Ladder 3 responded with just two crews.  It wasn't until they were on scene they learned just how bad it was. 

"When the first companies got there, they were up against it because the flames were already showing out the front of the building, reports of people trapped, and people having trouble evacuating," said Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi.

The fire was caused by a child playing with matches.  A father and his two children died in that fire.

"What they saw that day and what they see at times is difficult," Calvi added.

However, up to 80 people were able to get out of the home.

Tuesday morning, the two companies that responded that day received certificates of recognition, but the men who were recognized humbly said that it's all a part of the job. 

"Everybody likes to be recognized, but nobody wants to be recognized.  It's one of these things where everybody was just doing their jobs they'll tell you, but I think its important to recognize the members that responded that day," Calvi noted.

Since the fire on Belmont Avenue, the Springfield Fire Department has worked to continue to educate people about what to do in the event of a fire.  Those who died were Somali immigrants and the department has worked to help translate information sheets for people.

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