Photo courtesy of reader Santos Dzib

A two-alarm fire that broke out 11:06 p.m. at 628 Shotwell Street and jumped to a neighboring building was extinguished by 12:23 a.m. late Monday night, a fire department spokesperson said. The fire burnt out the top floor of 628 Shotwell St., which is a residential care facility for the elderly, and damaged the exterior wall of 634 Shotwell St. next door, but no significant injuries were reported.

Fire Department Assistant Chief David Franklin said the fire started on the top floor of 628 Shotwell St. and that one resident of the building suffered from smoke inhalation. He said the fire is under investigation but that “the top floor is pretty well damaged.”

Battalion Chief Jack Cremen added that both the bottom floor of the affected building and the building next door at 634 Shotwell St. suffered water damage. He said the fire department would set up a watch all night and evaluate the situation in the morning, but that no residents would be able to return to either building that night.

“At least” eight people would require placement from the Red Cross, he added, including the six elderly residents of the senior care facility.

The fire originated on the top floor, which was burnt along with the exterior wall of the building to the left. The bottom floor of the affected building and the building next door suffered water damage. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.
The two affected buildings, 628 Shotwell St. on the right and 634 Shotwell St. on the left, the morning after the fire. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.
The next door building, 634 Shotwell St., suffered fire damage to the staircase and water damage, displacing two residents. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Stephanie Clark, a member of the family that runs the facility at 628 Shotwell St., confirmed that all six residents were evacuated safely. She was under the impression that the fire had started at a neighboring building, but she too reported no major injuries.

“Everyone got out safely. One guy was coughing and taken to St. Luke’s [Hospital],” she said.

David Bronell, a resident of Shotwell Street next door to the fire, said he was starting to relax when the fire started.

“I sat down about 11:15 or so, when all hell broke loose,” he said. “I was in my building, I heard the trucks, I looked out front and saw a large fire. It looked as if the fire started at 628. Above the porch, it was burning along the wall.”

Another next-door neighbor, Camille Campbell, said she was in the bathroom when she heard a commotion.

“I opened the window and smoke billowed into our bathroom,” she said. “I heard thumping and cracking and I heard yelling, and I could see the glow of the fire.”

Greg Carey lives next door at 634 Shotwell St. He said he first noticed the fire “when my other neighbor came and knocked on my door and said ‘Hey, the building next door is on fire.’”

A patron at Shotwell’s Bar who declined to give his name said he first noticed a smell of burning rubber.

“We thought it was a dishwasher, then we heard the fire brigade,” he said. “I was impressed with the firefighters. There was no panic, no rush. They burst the windows out. The building on the left of it, that side was completely in flames.”

For some of the block’s residents holed up at the corner bar, one small incident may have brightened an otherwise troubling evening:

Patrick Carbonell, a bartender at Shotwell’s, said he grabbed two of the police officers who had responded to the scene and gave them pitchers of water and plastic cups after they mentioned the elderly residents needed them.

“One of [the officers] dropped $60. I told him I didn’t need it, but he just left it,” Carbonell said. “He essentially bought all of the residents who came here 60 bucks’ worth of beer, because that’s what I used it for.”

The block was cordoned off from 20th to 21st, but by 12:45 a.m. Shotwell Street residents whose buildings were unaffected by the fire were returning to their homes. Residents of adjacent buildings were awaiting the Red Cross for temporary housing, while those in the affected building had already been evacuated.

Update: Laura Gibbon, a spokesperson for the fire department, confirmed that eight people were sheltered by the Red Cross and clarified the fire’s beginning and end time. The post has been updated with photos the morning after the fire.

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