A three-alarm fire in Quincy that was started early this morning caused no injuries, but damaged the historic Old City Hall that is undergoing renovations.
Quincy Fire Department confirmed the fire started at the rear part of the first floor just after 1 a.m. That department declined to speculate on the cause or respond to reports that copper thieves may have started the blaze, deferring to Quincy police.
(Update 2 p.m.) Quincy Police Captain John Dougan says police are treating the blaze as a “suspicious fire.” The investigation is ongoing, he said, but no one has been charged with any crime relating directly to the fire. He said an open flame from a cutting torch is being considered as starting the blaze.
The Associated Press is reporting that thieves who were after copper piping in the building are suspected of starting the fire.
Dougan confirmed that a homeless man, Darwin May, has been charged with receiving stolen property in connection with copper taken from the property, which is undergoing extensive renovations, during a break-in the night before. May, however, has not been charged with any crimes relating directly to the fire.
Calls to the mayor’s office and the state fire marshal’s office were not immediately returned. The cost of the damage was not immediately clear.
The 170-year-old structure is in the midst of an $8 million facelift.