Heavy Winds Fuel Brush Fires, Cause Power Outages

Wind advisories and warnings were issued for parts of New England

Heavy winds are fueling brush fires, knocking down trees and causing power outages across New England on Thursday afternoon.

Three-alarm brush fires have been reported in Lakeville and Plymouth, Massachusetts. The fire danger is especially high because of the windy weather. Numerous reports of trees down on power lines and vehicles have also been received.

Wind advisories and warnings were issued for parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The gusts in Boston's Back Bay were so intense that blocks of Commonwealth Avenue, not far from the Boston Garden, were shut down to drivers and foot traffic after old, rotten wooden louvres started to fall from the First Baptist Church.

"It happens all the time when it's windy," said Gloria Waters, who lives right nearby in a luxury building.

"There are often huge planks and pieces of copper that fall all over the street, she said, "I have notified the city many many times, we live on the top floor and you can see that it's totally rotting inside, every time it's windy large pieces of wood and copper come up and could practically kill people."

A Boston Inspectional Services worker on scene tells necn the louvres are heavy and old, that they are at least 10 feet long, and that they cover open windows on the building.

The worker also say falling debris from the church has been an ongoing problem, and that a violation will be issued.

"This block is always bad, but not like this, I saw someone fall down," said one man, due to the gusts.

Some people had trouble walking due to the wind.

"It's insane," said another.

The Back Bay can often be a wind tunnel with the wind whipping in-between buildings.

Thursday, people said it was even worse.

"I'm about to get blown over, I can barely speak," said one couple.

The wind is also responsible for an old decrepit garage collapse in Dorchester on Neponset Ave.

There were no injuries in the city.

Debris from two billboards on the Leverett Connector also came flying off.

MassDOT crews say there was no report of it hitting any cars.

As for the First Baptist Church, Inspectional Services says an engineer will be out to look at the bell tower Friday.

By around 8 p.m., Boston Police had cleared the scene, but yellow tape was left around the sidewalk.

Thousands of Massachusetts customers lost electricity due to downed wires in Newton, Billerica, Hingham and other towns. A large tree also fell on a house in Lynn.

In Duxbury, a tree landed across West Street, bringing down power lines, knocking out electricity and forcing drivers to find different routes.

More than 3,000 New Hampshire customers are without power, most of them due to a downed limb in Manchester.

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