WALTHAM, Mass. - A blaze that destroyed a 260-unit apartment complex just west of Boston over the weekend was exacerbated by the building's all-wood frame, said firefighters and authorities.
Five buildings, all currently under construction, were completely destroyed. The 10-alarm fire took over four hours to control and wasn't completely extinguished for another 24 hours. No people were inside the buildings at the time.
The building consisted of a concrete ground floor with lightweight wood framing.
Waltham Fire Chief Paul Ciccone said the complex was in line with all building codes, but the building's wood-frame made the fire extremely hard to combat.
A rendering of one of the completed buildings
“There’s not a lot we can do about it, but wood is always very disconcerting to us because wood burns,” Ciccone told CBS Boston. “When you have a complex of this size, which is primarily wood frame, wood stick construction, it’s a big concern. And when it’s in a spot like this, it’s very congested, it’s very hard to access. We see these go up, we keep an eye on them.”
Ciccone says he will ask the state to revisit construction laws, and to reconsider whether or not all-wood frame buildings should be built.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The upscale complex was set to open later this year.