SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Two dozen people have been forced from their home after an early morning fire.
The St. James Avenue home is where 24 men who are receiving services through Behavioral Health Network lived.
Thankfully, all of them were able to get out safely this morning.
Just after 8 a.m. Friday, flames and smoke filled the third floor of the home.
Dennis Leger, aide to Springfield's fire commissioner, told Western Mass News they were able to get on scene within three minutes and contain the blaze.
However, now, Behavioral Health Network is forced to find a new place for 24 men to stay.
"It’s difficult. Programs that we operate clearly are designed to provide services to individuals with particular specialty needs, so we have to find a way to continue to provide those services, even in the situation where they’re displaced from the place in which we operate. It is important to them that we find a way to continue to provide them the shelter and continued programming and that’s what we’ve been working on since early this morning," said BHN president Kathy Wilson.
While the fire department continues to investigate what caused the fire, Wilson is thankful everyone was able to make it out safely.
"This is something we practice for. As an agency who’s licensed by many state agencies, part of our contracts is to make sure we have emergency plans in place. We practice evacuating buildings, fire drills, so it was really a comfort today when I arrived on the scene and reviewed what transpired, that our staff had done a great job at following protocol," Wilson added.
Springfield Fire said that the house sustained about $50,000 in damage.
"There was some water damage to the second floor from water dripping down from the extinguisher process, but it wasn’t to the severity that they all couldn’t stay there, but I think that organization has other facilities and the best interest was to move them out of there because it’s going to need repairs," Leger explained.
Again, Behavioral Health Network told us the 24 men who lived at this home have been transferred to another location temporarily.
The agency is working with a restoration company to secure the building and the men's belongings, so it's a safe place for everyone when they return in the future.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.