Wind-Whipped Fire Destroys Several Units at MA Condo Complex

Jeff Malachowski

Milford Daily News, Mass.

(MCT)

May 25—FRANKLIN — Alexis Martin peered from a sliding glass door in her first-floor condominium on Monday afternoon and saw debris on fire falling from above.

“My first thought was to grab the animals and get out of there,” said Martin, a two-year resident of the Franklin Crossing condominium complex. “It was terrifying.”

A three-alarm fire tore through one of the buildings of the complex off Rte. 140, near Interstate 495, but all residents were able to escape unharmed.

The blaze ignited in a third-floor unit and spread to an adjoining building due to high winds, said Battalion Chief Chuck Allen.

“The winds were very difficult being on the hill here,” he said.

Small-Town Condominium Fire: Construction, Wind, and Lessons Learned

Firefighters received the alarm around 2:15 p.m. and saw flames shooting from the roof when they arrived on scene. Smoke could be seen from nearby I-495 and Rte. 140.

Firefighters managed to save a couple of animals from the burning building, said Allen.

“They made a valiant effort,” the battalion chief said.

It took firefighters a little more than two hours to get the blaze under control. Crews from Franklin, Medway, Plainville, Wrentham, Bellingham and Milford were still at the scene early Monday evening. The fire alarm system was working, said Allen.

The building in which the blaze started — which houses 12 units — is a total loss. There was smoke and water damage to several other nearby units, according to Allen.

Fire officials are unsure what caused the blaze.

“It’s still going to be under investigation,” said Allen.

Many residents of the complex sat outside and watched as firefighters worked to contain the flames.

“I haven’t seen anything like this before,” said resident Jeremy Morani, who saw the roof of the building collapse.

Several neighbors, including retired Needham firefighter Mike Wright, went door-to-door to make sure everyone got out safely. Wright saw rolling black smoke coming from one of the third-floor units while going door-to-door. He said he was thankful nobody was hurt.

The condominium complex, built in 1985, has garden-style units, is near the commuter rail station and has an in-ground pool, tennis courts and a playground, according to its website. A two-bedroom condo recently changed hands there earlier this month for $232,500.

Jeff Malachowski can be reached at 508-490-7466 or jmalachowski@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmalachowskiMW.

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