By Paul Burton

EAST BOSTON (CBS) – Employees of the New England Casket Company returned to the place where they used to work, now a pile of rubble. “It’s very sad, very sad,” said employee Antonia Gomez employee.

On Friday, fire ripped through the facility which has been around for more than 70 years in East Boston. It employed just under 100 people who are now out of a job.

Remains of the New England Casket Company. (WBZ-TV)

“So many of them have worked for us for so long, I mean, many, many years, so It’s going to be hard, I would imagine, for all of us to try to find something else,” said Lou Tobia Jr., owner of the New England Casket Company.

The Tobia family has owned the company since the beginning. Now in their third generation, they are trying to figure out their next move. “We either try to rebuild here on site, try to rebuild somewhere else, purchase a building, or just fold up,” Tobia Jr. said.

Ronald Jimeez began working there a year ago as an inspector. When asked about his future plan, the 23-year-old said, “find another job right now, because you know it will take a little while to build up the building again.”

Antonia Gomez spent 25 years at the company and can’t believe it’s gone. “Twenty years you know, coming here every day every day, and now it looks like this,” Gomez said.

“We will be paying them, you know, their vacation pay and all of that good stuff but we need to get it on the table,” said Lou Tobia Sr., owner of the New England Casket Company.

Remains of the New England Casket Company. (WBZ-TV)

The owners plan to meet with all the employees later this week. Meanwhile Rena Galdamc has no choice but to look ahead. “I tried and looking for new job because you know since the building has gone down,” Galdamc said.

The owners plan to meet with their insurance company to see how much they can help their employees.

Paul Burton