(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Worcester, Mass. and Manchester, N.H.) - Fire tore through a multi-family home on Bowdoin Street in Worcester, Mass. Thursday afternoon, fueled by fierce winds whipping up the flames.
"The wind is a contributing factor no doubt, it was part of the problem that we had with the fire jumping to the building in the back on Williams Street, when we get a windy day like this it makes it that much harder for us to contain it to the building of origin," Worcester Deputy Fire Chief John Sullivan said.
Sullivan says quick work by firefighters kept damage minimal at the William Street home, but residents on Bowdoin Street weren’t so fortunate.
One resident's relative Sam Hickson said, "They were lucky to get out, my nephew left with no shoes."
David Furbish who was staying with friends on the first floor, said, "I have no place to go, I was homeless for a month, they took me in, now I’m back to square one, no money, no nothing."
Wind also fed the flames at a Manchester, N.H. home, where neighbors say the homeowner tried in vain to beat the flames back with a broom.
One neighbor said, "It went from the ground right to his deck in a matter of a minute that's how fast it spread."
"Unfortunately one of those act of God things with the wind and the trees perfect combination," Manchester Police Sgt. Craig Rousseau said.
Officials say this actually began as a brush fire after wind gusts knocked this tree down into a transformer. The transformer sparked the fire which was then further fueled by the unrelenting wind.
"It spread very quickly, we were worried about the neighboring houses. We actually had to evacuate some of those. We had to get somebody at the other end of the field because it was quickly making its way down the other end," Sgt. Rousseau said.
The neighbor said, "It's devastating you know? Everything has in the house it's tough. It's terrible to see somebody's whole life go up in smoke."