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Firefighters work into the night to contain 'raging' blaze in Cambridge, Mass.

Firefighters worked into the night to put down a large fire that jumped from one building to another across a densely-populated neighbourhood in Cambridge, Mass., on Saturday.

'It was just going so fast,' eye witness tells Boston Globe

Cambridge and surrounding fire departments worked into the night to battle a fire on and around Berkshire street in Cambridge, Mass. (Mark Garfinkel/the Boston Herald via Associated Press)

Firefighters worked into the night to put down a large fire that jumped from one building to another across a densely-populated neighbourhood in Cambridge, Mass., on Saturday.

Heavy flames engulfed multi-family buildings, including a former church that had been converted to condos, and several automobiles. Dozens of families were displaced and moved to a temporary shelter.

Fire crews were called in from surrounding cities and towns to help after the first calls came about 2 p.m. Saturday. It was contained about six hours later. 

The Boston Globe and local WCVB-TV reported that 10 alarms had been struck and that several buildings, as well as cars, were on fire.

Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick said seven buildings were on fire. He said some injuries were reported but none of them seemed serious.

Authorities said Saturday evening that two police officers and one firefighter were hurt. Their injuries were believed to be minor. No residents had been hurt.

Heavy flames engulfed multi-family buildings in a residential area of Cambridge, Mass., on Saturday. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Globe employee Michael Workman, who lives across the street from the blaze, said that it erupted in a three-family residence that was undergoing renovations and that flames quickly jumped to another home as well as a former church building.

"It went up in a heartbeat. It was just raging ... It was just going so fast. I've never seen anything like that," Workman told the Globe.

The flames were carried by the wind and spread quickly, residents told Boston's WBZ-TV.

"In minutes the whole house caught on fire. The wind started blowing the flames across the street and houses across the street caught on fire," Dana Fuller said.

"Within three minutes there were four or five houses and cars on fire. Just like that. My family has lived here for almost 100 years."

Images posted on WCVB's website showed the street and sidewalk engulfed in flames, billowing thick black smoke, as firefighters poured water onto them from a truck.

Authorities said two police officers and one firefighter were hurt in the 10-alarm fire. Their injuries were believed to be minor. (Mark Garfinkel/Associated Press)

Cambridge, located across the Charles River from Boston, is home to both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Neither campus appeared to be threatened by the fire.

Authorities said power has been shut off in the neighbourhood and could remain out for most of the night. The city turned a recreation youth centre into a shelter for displaced families.

With files from Reuters

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