MEDFORD (CBS) – A massive fire broke out Wednesday morning at an auto body shop in Medford.
Automotive Services of Boston was undergoing an electrical upgrade, which electricians had been there working on for several days.
What seemed to bystanders like a small electrical fire, escalated quickly, according to Danny Rodriquez who works nearby.
“We thought it was something small. It wasn’t something dramatic,” Rodriquez said. “But all of the sudden, it was–within fifteen minutes, it kicked back in and there was no stopping it.”
Joe Cummings, the owner of the shop, says it’s still hard to believe. “It’s shocking, obviously, today doesn’t even seem real at this point, but we’ll survive it,” said Cummings.
At least six area fire departments assisted Medford to fight this blaze and they had to cut the power for surrounding blocks for several hours as thick, dark smoke poured from the shop in the area of Harvard Street and Mystic Ave.
Deputy Chief William Young considered this situation particularly precarious. “All smoke is hazardous, but, yes, in a place like this, an automotive place like this, where you don’t know what’s in there. I just consider it extremely dangerous,” said Young.
According the Deputy Chief, the fire was embedded in several layers of the rubber roof, making it exceptionally difficult to put out.
Firefighters battled flames from the ground and the top of nearby buildings, successfully containing the flames to one building.
No one was injured, and Cummings praised the responding firefighters for their efforts. “They’re heroes,” he said. “As much as you hear everybody saying it, and like I said, a lot of people say that they are, but they saw the smoke that was coming out of that building and went running into the building without even thinking twice about it. Pretty amazing.”
Four customers had their cars in the garage for repair at the time of the fire. Cummings says auto body shops in the area have offered him space in their garages temporarily, for which he is extremely grateful.
Cummings has six employees to whom he promised an early, and paid, summer vacation.
The cause is still under investigation.