Investigators look for cause of ruinous fire as business owners survey damage


SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — Investigators have begun searching for the cause of a fire that destroyed several businesses in Somerset over the weekend.

The building at the corner of County and Buffinton Streets caught fire at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday and quickly went to three alarms. Mutual aid from several surrounding communities was brought in to help battle the flames.

Before fire officials could begin their investigation Monday, representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had to go in and remove all the guns from one of the businesses, Commonwealth Firearms.

“ATF is coming down and together we will go through them and find out what is salvageable what is not,” said owner Ed Scallon.

Scallon and his wife, Kathleen, founded both Commonwealth Firearms and Somerset Tours and Travel next door.

“My wife is pretty crushed,” Ed added. “She had a lot a lot of clients that relied upon her.”

“I am very upset,” said Kathleen. “I don’t think I’ll be able to replace what I had.”

Kathleen said the fire won’t impact any of their clients and in the meantime, she’ll continue to work as a travel agent in another office.

Another tenant said she moved her business out just last week due to what she claimed were ongoing electrical issues.

Eyewitness News dug through files at the Building Inspector’s office and found permits for electrical work in 2012 and 2013. The owner told us over the phone there were no electrical problems for any of the tenants, though the Scallons also said they’ve had problems.

“Tons of electrical issues,” Ed explained. “Circuit breakers would go for being overloaded… ineffective lines.”

Demolition crews also began working Monday on the tangled debris that remains.Eyewitness News will continue tracking the story and provide updates as officials investigate the cause of the fire.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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