A wind-swept fire burned through a street of homes early yesterday in South Boston, Mass., killing one firefighter and injuring seven other people. In Louisiana, four boys died in a blaze that police said started when their father tried to put gasoline in a kerosene heater.

The South Boston fire displaced 27 adults and eight children who all found shelter, said Red Cross spokeswoman Jennifer French. "Apparently it's a close-knit neighborhood, and they were all cared for," she said.

Officials said the fire, apparently caused by a corroded natural gas pipe, started in the basement of one house and spread quickly to three-story tenements. Embers ignited two roofs on the next street and two on another street a quarter-mile away, Corbett said.

One firefighter died after he was trapped under a tree that toppled when the front wall of one burning house collapsed, officials said.

Helping fight the fire was Station Officer Dennis McGrath of the Dublin, Ireland, Fire Department, who with 17 others from his department had come to Boston for the St. Patrick's Day parade. "As a firefighter, we help all firefighters," he said.

In Henderson, La., Bay Phan, a Vietnamese immigrant, was able to get two of his children out of their burning house but the flames were too intense for him to rescue four boys, aged 6 to 13, Police Chief Fred Hayes said.

Hayes said the fire started Thursday night when Phan put gasoline in a heater in the attic after running out of kerosene. "It blew up. He tried to throw it down the stairway but it hit the door," he said.

Hayes said Phan and his wife, Phuong, suffered only minor burns, while the rescued boy and girl were in stable condition with burns at the University Medical Center in Lafayette, according to a nursing supervisor.

Hayes said the family also had been left homeless in February when their mobile home burned.