Next Score View the next score

    30 families displaced in Cambridge fire have found permanent homes

    Firefighters battled a 10-alarm fire on Berkshire and York streets in Cambridge on Dec. 3.

    Thirty families whose homes were destroyed when a 10-alarm blaze spread through a Cambridgeneighborhood Dec. 3 had found permanent homes by Wednesday, according to city officials.

    The fire, which authorities say was accidental, moved quickly through the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon. It began shortly before 3 p.m. at a three-family home on Berkshire Street that was undergoing renovations, but the fire spread, jumping across the street.

    In just four minutes, the fire destroyed or damaged seven buildings and nine cars. Authorities said strong winds and densely packed areas of wood-framed housing caused the fire to move quickly.


    The flames affected 18 buildings in all, caused an estimated$10 million to $15 million in damage, and displaced about 120 people.

    Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
    The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    Firefighters from more than 20 municipalities were brought in to help contain the fire.

    In the days after the blaze, Assistant Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney said it was “nothing short of a miracle” that nobodydied.

    While many people will eventually return to their homes, 44 families were left in need of new permanent housing, according to Lee Gianetti, spokesman for the city.

    After the blaze, officials began looking for ways to help those who were left homeless. Mayor Denise Simmons set up a GoFundMe page that had raised $700,000 in donations byWednesday afternoon, and City Hall set up a resource center for families to be connected with appropriate aid.


    Gianetti said five of the 44 households do not require help in finding new housing.

    “The city is continuing to work with the additional households to find them permanent housing,” Gianetti said.

    Joseph Buswell’s family is among those whohave yet to find a home.

    “We lived in the house right next door to where the fire started, and they tore our house down the day after the fire,” Buswell said.

    Buswell and his wife, Emily, ran a day-care center in their home. Now they’re having problems renting a place that will let them continue to care for children.


    “We lost our home, we lost our furniture, we lost our clothing, and we lost our livelihood,” Buswell said. In the meantime, he said, the couple is staying with their son in Somerville.

    Olivia Quintana can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.