Large fire burns at Boston warehouse

Boston Herald

By Christine McConville
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Firefighters are still digging through huge piles of rubble in a dogged search for clues to last night’s nine-alarm Roxbury warehouse blaze.

“We’re still not sure where it started, or how,” said a weary-looking Boston Fire Chief Erik Pettaway midday today, as the day’s driving rain soaked the fire-scarred timber and brick behind him.

Nearly 160 firefighters from throughout metropolitan Boston battled the fast-moving fire as it ate its way through a five-building, maze-like complex on Norfolk, Howard and Kemble streets. It was reported at about 10:30 p.m.

“You could see the fire moving through the rafters, and it was moving fast,” said Pettaway, who, immediately after arriving on scene, barred crews from entering the building.

The long-vacant cold storage warehouse at the heart of the fire was “like a textbook case” for firefighter safety, Pettaway said.

With its timber frame, sky-high open ceiling and scarcity of windows, the building was likely to collapse.

And seconds after Pettaway issued his no-interior order, it did.

“No one was hurt,” the chief said. “God is smiling on us today.”

Now, with the blaze mostly extinguished, investigators are working on how and where the fire began.

Boston Fire Lt. Hank Sheridan said crews would be interviewing eyewitnesses and piecing together fire footage from street cam

eras.

"We’ll be putting water on this at 10 o’clock tomorrow,” Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.

The massive fire, which sent a huge plume of smoke over the industrial neighborhood, is expected to burn through the night.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Firefighters attempting to put out the 9-alarm fire.

The firefighters were ordered out of the building -- which has sections ranging from one to seven stories -- as the conflagration grew.

The multilevel brick building on Norfolk Avenue collapsed amid the flames.

160 firefighters attempted to put out the blaze.

The scene at a 9-alarm fire at an abandoned warehouse at 31 Norfolk Ave in Boston.

All images are property of The Boston Herald. © 2009 The Boston Herald, All Rights Reserved
Photographs

Photographs by: Stuart Cahill

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~ by adhna on September 1, 2010.

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