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Saugus firefighter hurt in three-alarm Malden blaze

Malden firefighters responded to the fire at 63 Converse Ave. at 5:23 a.m.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Malden firefighters responded to the fire at 63 Converse Ave. at 5:23 a.m.

A Saugus firefighter was taken to a hospital with chest pain after battling a three-alarm fire in Malden that displaced seven people early Friday morning, officials said.

No other injuries were reported.

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The firefighter, who is approximately 50 years old and a 13-year veteran of the department, said he felt light-headed and had chest pain. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is said to be improving, officials said.

“The prognosis looks good,” said Saugus Deputy Fire Chief Michael Newbury. “It’s obviously a tough job, and I’m just hoping for the best for him and his family.”

The firefighter was not named.

Malden firefighters responded to the fire at 63 Converse Ave. at 5:23 a.m. A family of seven was waiting outside, having smelled the smoke and rushed out of their home, said Malden Deputy Fire Chief Philip Cargill.

“At first, we thought it was an attic fire, but after fighting it, we realized it had started in the basement,” Cargill said Friday in a telephone interview. “We had to retreat and start all over again from the basement up.”

As firefighters repositioned their hoses from the attic into the basement, flames were rapidly rising up the interior walls toward the attic.

After breaking through the attic walls, flames began “shooting through the roof,” Cargill said. “What usually takes us five minutes took a little over an hour this time.”

A damage estimate has not yet been released, but “at least 30 percent of the home was a total loss,” Cargill said.

The Red Cross responded to provide emergency assistance to the family, including a temporary hotel stay and funds for food and clothing, said spokeswoman Ashley Studley.

In addition to mutual aid from Saugus, firefighters from Everett, Revere, and Medford were involved in fighting the fire, officials said.

Catalina Gaitan can be reached at catalina.gaitan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.
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