SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — The town of Somerset has temporarily suspended Brayton Point Commerce Center’s demolition permit after a fire broke out on the property Tuesday morning.
The fire – which a Brayton Point LLC and Commercial Development spokesperson said was caused by sparks from a welding torch – is the fourth one the Somerset Fire Department has responded to within the past six months.
All four fires, according to Town Administrator Richard Brown, occurred during the process of demolition.
Somerset Fire Chief Scott Jepson told Eyewitness News the property is lacking nearby fire hydrants, making it necessary for them to call for mutual aid from surrounding communities.
The Somerset Fire Department addressed their concerns with Brayton Point officials, advising for the installation of additional fire hydrants and an increase in water pressure.
Based on the fire department’s recommendations, Brown said the town’s building official decided to temporarily suspend Brayton Point’s demolition permit until the aforementioned concerns are addressed.
A spokesperson for Brayton Point said additional fire hydrants will be installed next week and they will be implementing additional fire prevention measures soon.
Brayton Point was once the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. Its twin 500-foot cooling towers were demolished back in April as the property’s new owners plan to turn it into a renewable energy hub.
“The town is committed to working with the Brayton Point Commerce Center to achieve its original plan to bring wind energy ashore at Brayton Point,” Brown said in a statement. “We recognize that this is a long term project and subject to conditions imposed beyond the town’s ability to control.”
“Accordingly, we recognize that the Center will try to mitigate their costs by allowing other activities until their plan can be achieved,” he continued. “We will ensure that this is done consistent with the town’s by-laws and regulations.”