Marlborough, MA (Middlesex)- Firefighters responded to 273-277 West Main Street around 0900hrs on April 23, 2012 for a reported fire in a 5sty roughly 100’x500’ brick veneer platform framed apartment complex. The 911 caller reported that he saw smoke coming from the corner of the roof of the complex. The living areas were on the first four floors with storage areas in the attic space inside the mansard roof section. Firefighters found an advanced fire on the upper floor in the Delta side of the building.
An aggressive interior attack commenced as command requested the working fire to be struck. A second alarm was soon struck to help assist with evacuations and fire attack. Marlborough ladder crews made their way up to the roof to the A/D corner to open scuttles and the roof itself to release the trapped smoke and gases from the fire below them. Heavy smoke was now beginning to push from the complex as the interior companies pressed on attacking the fire.
The Incident Commander struck the third alarm bringing in more out of town departments. Heavy fire was now venting from the flat roof of the Delta side of the complex. All firefighters were pulled from structure and then a fourth alarm was requested. Hudson’s Tower Ladder positioned themselves on the Charlie/Delta side and set up a water curtain to protect a similar structure.
The Northborough and Southborough Tower Ladders set up along the Alpha side and opened up the mansard roof to expose the hidden storage spaces. Heavy appliance water streams were directed into the roof line trying to get
a hold of the deteriorating conditions. Fifth and sixth alarms were requested bringing in more water supply companies to relay pump and draft from Lake Williams. Drafting operations closed Route-20 for several hours as LDH hose lines clogged the roadway.
The Massachusetts Rehab and Incident Command Support trucks responded to help out with communications and refreshments for the exhausted members. The heavy fire had traveled throughout the entire upper floor storage area and roof. Heavy smoke continued to chug into the overcast sky and blanketed the neighborhood.
Shrewsbury’s tower ladder operated along the Bravo side and used their chainsaws to open up. Heavy churning smoke and then fire blew out of the opened holes. Several hand lines, deck guns, tower ladders,
and ladder pipes played water into the building for hours. The fire was starting to get darkened down around 1330hrs. The fire was placed under control around 1630hrs with crews remained on scene for fire watch for hours later.
The Massachusetts Fire Marshal’s Office along with the local officials will try to determine the origin and cause. Reports of 67 people were left homeless due to the fire with reports of several missing pets. The towns of Framingham, Hudson, Southborough, Northborough, Westborough, Sudbury, Natick, Hopkinton, Stow, Shrewsbury, and Berlin either assisted on scene or by covering the empty city firehouses.