Firefighters battle blaze in Boston’s Back Bay

The fire occurred at a building on Beacon Street at the corner of Clarendon Street.
Ed Medina, Globe staff
The fire occurred at a building on Beacon Street at the corner of Clarendon Street.

Residents of a 14-unit, six-story condominium building in the Back Bay were forced out of the brownstone Monday by a one-alarm fire that started on the building’s roof in the late afternoon, a Boston Fire spokesman said.

The fire was reported around 6 p.m. at 182 Beacon St. and had been extinguished by 6:30 p.m., but in a short time the flames burned wildly, driven in part by winds off the Charles River. No one was injured in the blaze, according to Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

No residents were able to stay in the building Monday night because the extensive water damage made it necessary to shut down all electrical systems, MacDonald said at the scene.


“We got a lot of phone calls on this because it was pretty spectacular, with all the flames shooting in the air,” he said.

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The fire apparently started on the building’s shared roof-deck and then dropped down to the rubber roof surface before spreading to a penthouse unit, which was unoccupied, MacDonald said.

The Fire Department said on Twitter Monday night that the damage was estimated at $1 million. At the scene, MacDonald said there was extensive water damage.

“For instance, in the stairways and the hallways, up the whole six floors, you have water coming through the ceiling, the light fixtures,” he said.

Fire officials had not yet determined the cause of the blaze.


Resident Cameron Guilmette, 23, lives on the Beacon Street side of the building, just below the unoccupied penthouse unit.

Guilmette said a neighbor from another building rang his buzzer to alert him to the fire, and he ran up to the roof to check it out. He said the flames at first appeared to be located in the approximately 18-inch space between the roof and the deck, which sits toward the rear of the roof area.

There was no obvious source for the flames and no smoke visible inside the building, Guilmette said.

MacDonald said there was no sign of a barbecue grill on the deck.

Guilmette retrieved a small smoke extinguisher from his unit, he said, but the fire spread quickly due to gusting winds. So he went back inside, pulled the fire alarm, gathered a few belongings, and fled.


Guilmette said he was not worried about what would happen next.

“Everything always works itself out,” he said. “There’s always somewhere to go.”

Patricia Rolon, 30, and Dusan Encinger, 33, also live in the front half of the building, one floor below Guilmette.

They returned home from a medical appointment around 6:30 to find their building surrounded by police and firefighters, who were hosing down the rear of the building.

Because the damage was mostly in the rear, they were hopeful their belongings would be undamaged.

The couple said, however, that they expected the fire would affect a roof-deck party they were planning for the weekend.

“Obviously that’s not going to happen,” Encinger said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at