Nine-alarm fire ravages Roxbury warehouse complex

Video by Jamz3269.

A fire that broke out shortly before 10:30 p.m. in an apparently empty warehouse complex at 31 Norfolk Ave. went to nine alarms in just a few minutes. Firefighters were ordered out of and away from the building only a few minutes before it began to collapse around 10:35.

The Boston Fire Department reports more than 160 firefighters - more than half the city's available firefighters - are at the blaze, in a complex that ranged from one to seven stories. That's roughly 21 engines, 7 ladder trucks, a rescue truck and three tower ladder trucks, in addition to several special units. Firefighters will be on scene all night pouring water onto the remains of the building.

Pre-fire Google Street View. Photo of the fire from Top of the Hub in the Prudential building.

View from Northampton and Tremont Streets in the South End, by Neal Gaffey:


The fire department says firefighters from surrounding communities covered some Boston firehouses during the blaze and cleanup: Needham, Everett, Winthrop, Chelsea, Revere, Malden, Newton, Watertown and Dedham.

Smoke from the fire rapidly enveloped the area. John Pouliot tweeted a huge plume of smoke, changing from black to gray, covered Columbus and Tremont; Alex MacDonald tweeted the smoke was visible from I-93 in Somerville.



Free tagging: 


    Fire has spread to the corner

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    Fire has spread to the corner of Norfolk and Gerard Streets into a garbage facility. Streets are blocked off and large plumes of smoke- as well as cinders- are visible from Chesterton St/Mass Ave, across from the fire department HQ.


    Cambridge Providing back up??

    I've seen three piece of fire equipment come into the Back Bay from the Mass Ave Bridge. Cambridge might be sending back up to the empty fire stations.



    By on

    Northampton and Tremont Streets, next to the Piano Factory. Until next week at least, when I move across the neighborhood.

    Videos added

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    I just added the videos I took of the fire to the set. They were taken from my living room and then from the roof deck of 255 Northampton St.

    Smoke will be hanging around

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    Channel 7 meteorologist Jeremy Reiner tweets:

    Smoke from Roxbury fire will be trapped by temperature inversion tonight. It will smell like smoke overnight.

    read UH post, realized I'm not targeted

    Here on the JP/Mission Hill border, some of the neighbors have meat smokers going 24/7 on the weekend on their back lots.

    After reading this post I feel a little bit better about my neighbors, but really worried that we are drawing on MetroWest fire departments for assistance.

    Great videos, Neal

    The Fenway doesn't look or smell smoky tonight. I guess the breeze is sending it more to the northeast from the fire site, i.e. Southie, South End, downtown.


    Walls collapsed and essentially put the fire out

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    I stopped by the scene --one city block of brick warehouse-- and things were pretty much under control by midnight. Some of the walls had collapsed onto the fire, essentially helping to extingusih it, not to minimize the great work of the the BFD. Smoke was still heavy and visible all over the city and surrounding climes.

    In a bit of comic relief, Mayor Menino showed up with Police Commissioner Davis and other bodyguards, and Menino immediately gets a Poland Springs water bottle from a stash intended for the thirsty, exhausted firefighters. Priceless. The merciless crowd was joking about what Menino might be saying to ch. 5's Kimberly Bookman (stunning in person) as she interviewed him. "Ionic" one guessed, while another suggested this was "An Alcatraz around the neck of the city." While police were friendly to Menino, few if any firefighters gave him the time of day, even the ones who weren't busy. Had to wonder if this was blowback from the contract dispute. Credit to Menino for showing up though.

    Indeed a ninth alarm in Boston brings help from FD's in Brookline, Cambridge, Quincy, Needham, Newton, Somerville, Chelsea, Dedham, Winthrop, Cambridge, Everett, Milton, Watertown, Malden, Revere, Waltham and Braintree, at least. It was col to hear Waltham Engine-2 taking calls in the city of Boston. Thankfully, no serious injuries at the fire.


    Very dramatic

    Jones' photos remind me that, focused on the task at hand, Boston's firefighters do a damn fine job. I'm particularly impressed with Chief Pettaway's decision to pull his crew out at the appropriate time.


    According to the Globe

    He had a plan in place should this building go up - a good chance that it would, because it had been abandoned for decades.

    I think some lessons were learned from that horrific night in Worcester.



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    Any word on the folks at M&M Ribs? Their truck parks in the sandlot across the street from this, right? I'm assuming they got away okay; wondering if they'll be displaced from their regular spot.