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Cleanup continues at scene of 7-alarm fire in Chelsea

The three-story duplex on Chelsea Street in East Boston that was badly damaged in a fire Sunday, displacing dozens of people, could be salvageable, a city official said today.

“I wouldn’t call [the building] safe, but it could be made safe,” Bryan Glascock, the city’s acting commissioner of inspectional services, said at the scene.

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As he spoke, workers were continuing to clear debris from the 7-alarm blaze at 328-330 Chelsea St., which caused the roof and much of the third floor to collapse and left 30 people homeless, including seven children.

Glascock said it might be more cost-effective to repair the damaged building, rather than tear the entire structure down and rebuild. He said the decision would ultimately rest with the owners and their insurer.

Either way, he said, it will be at least a year before the property is habitable again.

Officials said about 15 other people living in the two buildings on either side of the duplex will probably need alternative accommodations for about a week, as workers repair the water damage both buildings suffered.

A spokeswoman for the American Red Cross said all affected residents have found a place to stay tonight, and that the organization has so far spent about $6,000 on aid for the victims, including food and clothing.

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Workers from Action Emergency Services were helping some affected residents carry personal items, such as family photos, out of the duplex today.

Eva DiMaggio, 54, who grew up in the duplex and is now housing several affected relatives including her parents, said being able to save some items meant a lot to her family.

“The house means nothing. It’s the memories,” an emotional DiMaggio said. “It means the world.”

Officials have not stated a cause for the fire but have estimated damage to the building at $2.5 million.

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