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Man, 57, killed in two-alarm fire in Cambridge, first fire fatality in city this year

A 57-year-old man was killed early today when fire raced through his third floor condo unit in Cambridge’s Wellington-Harrington neighborhood, officials said.

Thomas Hunt was the sole resident of the third floor unit at 294 Columbia St., said Cambridge Assistant Fire Chief Gerard Mahoney, department spokesman.

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Residents in the lower two floors of the three-decker were able to escape the fire without injury, Mahoney said.

Mahoney said firefighters found Hunt’s body in the front room of the unit, which is also where the fire was the heaviest. The cause of the fire and the cause of Hunt’s death are under investigation by Cambridge fire, the state fire marshal’s office and the state medical examiner’s office.

Mahoney said firefighters rushed to the scene around 12:30 a.m. and as they turned onto Columbia Street, a second alarm was immediately struck because of the heavy flames they saw pouring out of the enclosed porch on the third floor.

“When they came around the corner, they had heavy fire basically blowing out from the third floor porch windows,’’ Mahoney said.

He said firefighters were told that Hunt was the only person still in the building and that firefighters rushed up the stairs and inside to the third floor. They forced open the locked door to Hunt’s unit where they found his body, Mahoney said.

“They fought their way into the front porch area where there was a large concentration of fire,’’ Mahoney said. “That’s where they discovered the body.’’

Mahoney said Hunt’s death was the first fire fatality in Cambridge this year.

John R. Ellement can be reached at
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