The Holyoke Fire Department was called to the scene of a fire just before 2 p.m. on Thursday. They said that when they arrived, the house at 416 Pleasant St. was fully involved.
"My wife and I had just gotten back from the mall," said John Flathers, an upstairs resident of the two family home. "It's my birthday and we were just getting back from shopping for my birthday gift."
Twenty minutes later, Flathers' birthday took a dramatic turn, as he was alerted that something was wrong inside his house.
"My neighbor from downstairs came running up the back, saying 'Johnny, call the fire department,'" said Flathers.
In all, four people lived at the residence. One person was downstairs, three upstairs. Everyone got out of the building OK.
Flathers said the moments after everyone escaped were intense.
"I went into the front door, because it originated in the front room," Flathers stated. "When I opened the front door all of the way, all I saw was a wall of flame and nothing but black smoke."
While he saw the destruction first hand, Flathers said he cannot be certain what caused it.
"I can only speculate, but it was in an electronic music studio," said Flathers. "So possibly electronic, but that's just a speculation."
Lt. Thomas Paquin of the Holyoke Fire Department told CBS 3 that the cause of the fire is accidental and that one firefighter was slightly injured while fighting the blaze. He is expected to be OK.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
They told CBS 3 that 39-year-old Israel Lopez had assaulted his girlfriend, then returned to the scene at Morgan Street Apartments a short time later with what appeared to be a shotgun.More >>