By Sue Ellen Woodcock
A 66-year old Winthrop man remains in the hospital with serious injuries he received in a devastating 2-alarm fire early Sunday morning at 455 Pleasant St.
Winthrop Fire Chief Paul Flanagan said the alarm came in around 12:30 a.m. after several calls from the neighborhood complaining of the smell of smoke in the area.
“It was actually a neighbor who called in,” Flanagan said.
When fire crews arrived at the single-family home they found an elderly man unconscious on the front lawn. James Murphy had apparently jumped from a third floor window where he often slept. He was transported to MGH by ambulance, where he remains with a broken back, serious injuries and smoke inhalation.
Flanagan said initial reports stated that there was a woman in the building, but that was found to be untrue.
Flanagan said due to the “balloon” construction of the building the fire began in the basement and traveled up through the walls of the house. The fire created a massive hole in the kitchen floor and traveled to the roof which eventually collapsed.
“We made an interior attack and discovered the kitchen floor sagging into the basement.,” Flanagan said. “We had to vacate from the building.”
Flanagan said no smoke detectors were working when firefighters arrived. Further investigation found some smoke detectors that had melted. It took firefighters several hours to open all the walls and make sure the fire was out.
Winthrop Fire Department also was helped by fire departments from Passport, Chelsea, Revere, Boston.
One Chelsea firefighter did injure his shoulder fighting the blaze.
No cause for the fire has been found yet. The 117-year old home is now slated for demolition.