Freetown businesses heavily damaged in fire

SE Mass

FREETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) — A mixed-use commercial building in Freetown sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage after a fire broke out Friday afternoon.

Freetown Deputy Fire Chief Harrie Ashley said he arrived on scene just after noon to find heavy smoke pouring out of the County Road facility.

Fortunately, one of the town’s fire stations was right next door so firefighters were able to hook up to the hydrant there, according to Ashley. However, he said since it’s an old building that’s gone through a lot of changes over the years, there were a lot of hidden spaces that crews had trouble getting to, making it a challenge to fight the fire from the interior.

“The way it was added onto over the years, roofs were left in place as new additions went on, and that creates a void that you can’t access,” Ashley explained.

As a result, they had to switch to an exterior attack and cut holes in the roof to knock down the flames. Ashley said it took about an hour and a half to get the fire under control.

Several area fire districts provided mutual aid.

Ashley said all three businesses — a dance studio, storage space for a book bindery, and a roofing company — were affected by the fire. In all, officials estimated there’s about $500,000 worth of fire, smoke and water damage to the building, which they said is not usable for the time being.

No injuries were reported. Freetown Fire Chief Gary Silvia said one man was inside the building at the time but he was able to get out safely.

Investigators believe the fire started in the roofing company’s workspace in the rear of the building, according to Silvia. It’s not considered suspicious at this time but the chief said the cause remains under investigation.

Silvia later noted that the building was originally East Freetown’s first firehouse.

County Road was closed for several hours due to the fire but has since been reopened.

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