BFDBoston Firefighters fought desperately to contain roaring flames billowing out of the New England Casket Factory.Boston Fire Department.
Flooding at Orient Heights.2/3
Flooding at Orient Heights.Flooding at Orient Heights.MBTA.
FireFirefighters battled a 9-alarm fire for hours on Friday.Boston Fire Department.
MBTA officials say the Blue Line service is still shut down due to Friday's massive fire in East Boston.
Buses will shuttle outbound commuters between Airport and Wonderland Stations for the time being, while construction crews clean up damage and demolition debris from the 9-alarm fire which began in at the New England Casket Company on Bennington Street. Suffolk Downs Station outbound service is out of commission due to road closures.
Flames quickly spread throughout the neighborhood, prompting evacuation orders for nearby residents as over 125 firefighters from Boston and Chelsea battled the fire for over seven hours as noxious fumes from hazardous chemicals billowed late into the night. Residents were allowed to return home after 10:30 p.m. on Friday once firefighters were able subdue the inferno.
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"It was probably the most difficult fire I have fought in a number of years, a very difficult building," Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn said during a press conference. "We had some challenges, for sure, and the firefighters all did a great job. All of the supporting agencies were very helpful."
The casket factory was a three-building structure that presented a great deal of difficulty for firefighters to attack. "This is the biggest fire, for me, that I've seen as the mayor of this city," Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.
Two Boston police officers were hospitalized from smoke inhalation, two Boston firefighters were treated for exhaustion, and one Chelsea firefighter suffered a leg injury. No deaths were reported.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Louis Tobia, Jr., a member of the family who owns the casket factory, told NECN that he suspected that a rooftop furnace used as a drying oven was the cause of the fire.
Both Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker said that they are investigating the low water pressure which officials say hampered the fight.
"We'll spend some time talking with the city with respect to what we can do with the water issues," Baker told WCVB. "Initially, the pressure wasn't as strong as we would have liked it to have been," Walsh said in a statement. "The hill where the people live, the pressure is strong, [but] on the lower part, there's not much down there. So we'll take a look at that as well, about strengthening the water pressure."
MBTA officials said that the next phase of repair is draining water from the Orient Heights stations and adjacent railyard, which were entirely flood.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help over 100 employees who are now out of work.