Investigators in Springfield said they pulled a body from the charred remains of a home on Euclid Avenue Wednesday afternoon.
Dennis G. Leger, executive aid to fire Commissioner Joseph A. Conant, said the remains were found on the first floor of the multi-family home around 1:30 p.m.
According to Leger, the call came in around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures were in the single digits with wind chills below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Leger said conditions were brutal for firefighters. There were equipment problems because of the cold, including broken hydraulic lines and frozen nozzles. Firefighters also had to deal with icy footing.
Around 1:45 a.m. a second alarm was sounded because the bitter cold made firefighting efforts cumbersome.
Investigators also had to deal with bitter cold, icy conditions and an unstable structure while trying to figure out what caused the blaze. Heavy equipment was brought in to help assist with the investigation.
The Pioneer Valley Chapter of The American Red Cross was on scene assisting two families living in the home and providing hot fluids and food for first responders.
Investigators said 11 people were living in the home and one man is still unaccounted for. Authorities were waiting for a positive identification from the medical examiner before saying if the body was that of the man who was still missing.
State police and investigators from the state fire marshal's office were on scene Wednesday afternoon trying to determine the cause of the fire.
Mary Nathan, disaster coordinator for the American Red Cross, said they were assisting nine people with food, clothing and shelter. Nathan said seven volunteers rushed to the fire to provide assistance. She said most times, people involved in a house fire don't have time to grab adequate clothing. Volunteers provided warm clothing for the families.
Nathan said neighbors in the area helped out by allowing victims to stay in their homes until volunteers arrived.
She urged the public to help the Red Cross by either volunteering or by donating funds. There have been nearly two dozen fires in Springfield since December and the need for money is high. Because everyone's needs are different, money allows the Red Cross to buy specific items for those who require help.
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