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5-Alarms Working in Taunton

Updated and video added.  Scroll down.

A 5-ALARM FIRE IS UNDERWAY IN THE TAUNTON, MASSACHUSETTS, CITY HALL. 

WCVB-TV

The fire broke out at 8:30 am in the 3rd-floor records room while about a dozen people were in the room.  Deputy Fire Chief Scott Dexter told the Taunton Gazette,  “When we got there, there was heavy smoke throughout the building,” he said. “One worker inside the building on the first floor said no fire alarm was going off, but she looked out the back window to see other workers filing out.”

Gwen Borden, who has worked for 22 years in the town’s engineering department, said she smelled smoke when she got off the elevator this morning and didn’t think much of it. Then she saw an orange glow in the hallway and it started to move.

She said she opened the door and saw flames shooting down a staircase. She frantically dialed 911, screamed for a co-worker and ran through the building screaming, “Fire!”

“I’m a little anxious thinking about how my office is going to look right now. That thing could have killed me,” she said.

The FD appears to have the fire contained, but the heavy fuel load is generating a lot of smoke throughout the building.  So far, no injuries have been reported and all the occupants were safely evacuated.

Mayor Charles Crowley said that city officials will mostly have to deal with smoke and water damage, and will have to determine when they can go back inside, and what building they will use until then.

The massive stone city hall was built in two phases, the front section where the fire was located was constructed in 1898 and directly behind it is the earlier part that was built in 1846.

Update, 2 pm:
Early estimates of the damages are set at $500,000+.  The fire chief says that they believe the fire started on the 4th floor, the attic area, where many of the records are stored.  The Boston Globe adds:

Gwen Borden, who has worked for 22 years in the town’s engineering department, said she smelled smoke when she got off the elevator this morning and didn’t think much of it. Then she saw an orange glow in the hallway and it started to move.

She said she opened the door and saw flames shooting down a staircase. She frantically dialed 911, screamed for a co-worker and ran through the building screaming, “Fire!”

“I’m a little anxious thinking about how my office is going to look right now. That thing could have killed me,” she said.

Four other fire departments, Raynham, Berkley, Rehoboth and Norton assisted at the fire and two others,Lakeville and Dighton filled in at city stations.

NECN-TV has produced a good, brief summary of the fire and the aftermath in this video report:

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Comments - Add Yours

  • D Leblanc

    Jeezz….I wonder if all the layoffs had anyhting to do with needing 5 alarms?