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03/15/2019 9th Alarm Boston MA

03/15/2019 - BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS (SUFFOLK COUNTY) - Around 1505 hours the Boston Fire Department struck Box-6243 for the New England Casket Company at 1141 Bennington Street in East Boston. At 1507 hours Ladder-21 signed off with fire showing from the roof. The fire was believed to be in a roof top unit. Companies stretched a line over a ladder to the roof, as well as interior lines in an early attempt to knock down the fire. The fire quickly extended through the 2-story, 200' x 50', truss roof, mixed occupancy building. Crews attempted to get ahead of the fire but the fire had extended through the roof and throughout the building. The building did have an active sprinkler system, but the fire was above the sprinkler system, allowing the fire to travel throughout the building quickly. Due to the heavy fire conditions, all ladder companies were ordered off the roof. At 1523 hours, a second alarm was requested. Second alarm companies made several trench cuts in the roof in an attempt to stop the spread of the fire, but the heavy fire condition over took the trench cuts, sending fire through the roof. At 1536 hours all companies were pulled from the building and went into defensive operations. Numerous ladder pipes, and master streams were put into operation as heavy fire conditions over took the building. The New England Casket Company is a family owned business which has been in operation in East Boston since the 1930's. The building contained a heavy fire load with wood working products, saw dust, as well as lacquer and chemicals used to finish the caskets. Toxic smoke billowed through the Orient Heights section of East Boston, which required evacuations of the neighborhood. Police officers went door to door asking residents to evacuate. Companies encountered problems with the water supply, as numerous large lines were put into operation. Ladder pipes and master streams were supplied with foam to help extinguish the fire. Special calls were made for additional foam to the scene. The fire eventually went to 9-alarms, with the ninth alarm being struck by Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn around 1815 hours. Fire crews remained on-scene throughout the night and into the next morning battling the stubborn blaze. At around 2300 hours, residents that had been evacuated from the Orient Heights neighborhood were allowed to return to their homes. Several minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, were suffered by firefighters and police officers on the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The building was a total loss.

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