SCITUATE — Firefighters battled a five-alarm blaze that destroyed multiple homes along the beach here Friday night, the state fire marshal’s office said.
The fire broke out at 72 Glades Road near Minot Beach shortly before 8 p.m. and quickly spread to two neighboring structures, sending flames and heavy smoke billowing into the sky. Those three structures were reduced to piles of charred and smoldering rubble by the time firefighters were able to knock down the flames.
A total of five structures were destroyed and two others sustained heavy damage, Scituate Fire Chief John Murphy said.
With homes in this area just 8 feet apart at the most, Murphy said the fire could have spread much farther had there been heavier gusts Friday night.
“Fortunately the wind wasn’t a big factor,” he said. “It’s always a little bit of a factor by the ocean, but it’s 10 miles an hour ... and yesterday was 30 miles an hour. So it’s a blessing tonight that the wind wasn’t really strong, so that was on our side. That kept everything from going down the block.”
The cause of the fire at 72 Glades Road is under investigation, he said. No one was injured.
Three families were displaced, Murphy said, but many more were impacted as officials shut off electricity and evacuated the area as the fire was burning. Murphy said several units are seasonal properties and were not occupied when the fire broke out.
Thomas Carr and his wife moved into an apartment at the old Minot post office last August. Carr said they were home when they began to smell something burning and noticed an orange glow outside their window. He said they ran outside and found the inferno already in progress.
“It all happened so fast, and it was just very bizarre because there were three buildings going up in flames at the same time,” he said.
“My wife and her friend took one of their cars and just took off, they weren’t sure what to do,” he said. “I moved my car into the beach parking lot and then I just went back to see what was going on because I thought our apartment was gonna go up in flames.”
Later, Carr and his wife packed some belongings and headed to the Inn at Scituate Harbor. He said the hotel had opened its doors to residents affected by the blaze.
“I just felt we were lucky,” he said. “I feel really bad for the other tenants who lost their homes.”
Police closed the area off to traffic as firefighters worked to control the blaze. Officers were stationed at the corner of Gannett Road and Hatherly Road directing traffic away from the area.
Erik Weikert of Framingham drove down to check on his mom, who lives in the area where the fire broke out but her home was not damaged.
“They evacuated the street and shut the power off but I think she’s gone back in now,” he said as he walked to his car to head home.
Weikert said his mom and other residents were watching the fire from the beach.
Bailey’s Causeway, a road that leads to the Minot Beach area, was lined with fire vehicles and fire hoses snaked along the edge of the road. Firefighters were rolling the hoses up around 11:15 p.m.
Incredible video from the Minot Beach section of Scituate, where a massive fire has destroyed multiple beachfront homes. Firefighters from multiple towns are at the scene. #ScituateMA https://t.co/nJyckVHuh9 pic.twitter.com/lQ97CnQwi0— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) March 25, 2023
Scituate resident Lily Restuccia, 19, saw the fire around 8:15 p.m. from a few miles away, on Rebecca Road near the Scituate lighthouse, she said. Cars flooded the street she was on, she said, as people took pictures and videos of the scene across the water, where black smoke was rising up dramatically.
“I could see the whole house engulfed in fire,” Restuccia said. “I’ve seen some house fires in my life but I’ve never seen so much smoke. It took up the majority of the view of the sky.”
Residents in the area could experience power outages and issues with water pressure and water discoloration due to the incident, police said.
“The Department of Fire Services has deployed a Rehab unit to support personnel at the scene and State Police fire investigators assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office are responding to support Scituate investigators,” Wark said.
The Plymouth County local coordinator for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency responded to the scene, Christian Cunnie, a spokesman for the agency said. The coordinator will ensure that any gaps in state resources that are needed are funneled through MEMA.
“At this time, no additional requests for state assistance have been made,” Cunnie said in an e-mail.
Kelly Isenor, director of communications for the Red Cross of Massachusetts, said in an e-mail that the Red Cross is closely monitoring the situation and staying in contact with its partners in emergency management.
“We stand ready to help anyone forced from their home by this fire; in general, that help may include financial assistance, casework, comfort kits and emergency supplies,” Isenor said. “We remind anyone living in the area to follow the instructions of emergency personnel on scene.”
Fire crews remained at the scene late Friday night dousing the smoldering remnants of the destroyed buildings.
Murphy, the Scituate fire chief, expressed gratitude to the numerous fire crews from surrounding cities and towns that responded to the scene.
“I just want to thank all the surrounding towns that came to help us keep this at bay,” he said. “They did a great job.”
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