Fire tore through an upscale building under construction in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood on Wednesday.
The fire broke out on the top floor of the six-story building at 1971-1977 Dorchester Ave., just outside Peabody Square, at about 2:30 p.m..
The 83-unit Treadmark Building was almost ready to open its doors.
Massive flames and thick smoke raced through the complex that was set to house condos, rentals and retail space.
Fire Engulfs Building Under Construction in Dorchester
“I just feel sad because that was going to be part of the community,” said nearby resident Simone Smith. “That’s a lot of homes for a lot of different people.”
Investigators believe the fire started on the top floor of the building.
At one point, firefighters were told to get off the roof as the structure weakened and air conditioning units collapsed into the building.
Boston resident Stephanie Janes had a purchase agreement for a unit on the top floor. She had planned to rent it out.
“So it’s really terrifying to think that if we had a tenant in there who had a child or a pet and couldn’t get out,” said Janes. “It’s scary to think about the worst case scenario.”
Inspections, including for the alarm system, were set to begin on Thursday. Move-in for tenants was anticipated in mid-July.
“I couldn’t afford the condo I wanted to get so I couldn’t buy it,” said Mary Flowers, who considered buying in the building. “It’s a shame because Dorchester is just getting better and better.”
The sprinkler system inside the building had not yet been activated.
There were construction workers on site before the fire, but it’s unknown if that had any role in causing the inferno.
Residents who live on the surrounding streets said they were amazed that the fire was still raging well into the night.
"I mean they are pouring the kitchen sink in. It seems like Niagra Falls on this building and they are persistent. Still burning," said neighbor Mark Payne.
Fire officials expected Dorchester Avenue to be closed from Ashmont Street to Washington Street for the entire night while crews continued to put out hotspots.
Building Under Construction Goes Up in Flames
"We're gonna try to work to get this thing blanketed down. We will be here through the evening for sure - probably into the good part of tomorrow," said Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn. "The neighborhood will be shut down and that's what we will have to do."
Due to the fire, MBTA transit police officials had to shut down service at Ashmont station on the Red Line, making Shawmut station the last stop on the Ashmont branch. It's unclear when the station would reopen or if they had shuttles in the area. MBTA and MassDOT officials were advising riders to check with MBTA.com for the most up-to-date information.
"I drive this way all the time so now I have to find a new route to maneuver my way around," said neighbor Ronette Lyle.