A fire in a home on Marlboro Street spread to a six-family building on Library Street around 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Two hours later, both buildings were wrecks, with smoke pouring from them and thousands of gallons of water being poured on them.
In all, 50 men, women and children were displaced by the rapidly moving fires, which were driven by the wind.
The six family on Library Street was destroyed
There were no serious injuries according to the Chelsea Fire Department and Chelsea Police, who cordoned off the area to keep hundreds of spectators at a distance.
Fire officials said the blaze broke out at 102 Marlboro Street and spread to the six family behind it at 117 Library Street.
In a matter of minutes, the Library Street property broke into flames.
This caused a wild exodus from both properties by all the people residing in them.
Some were seen running from the fire without shoes or socks, sweaters or jackets.
Some were in shock.
The American Red Cross arrived at the scene to assist those made homeless.
The city opened an overnight shelter at the Williams Middle School to house some of those displaced.
One Chelsea firefighter, Captain Michael Gurska apparently injured his shoulder after falling on the ice .
Much of the water poured onto the burning buildings immediately froze in the frigid temperature.
The blazes brought out an extraordinary response from nine communities.
Apparatus and hose was spread all over the area – one of the most densely populated in the city.
Many of the firefighters closest to the action were literally encased by ice in their fire fighting uniforms.
By 12:30 p.m. the blazes had been doused.
Fire official are investigating the cause of the fires.
Property damage is estimated at $500,000.