scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Massachusetts State House to remain closed Wednesday as fire investigation continues, officials say

Firefighters used a ladder at the Massachusetts State House after a fire broke out, forcing an evacuation.Tanner Pearson For The Boston Globe

The Massachusetts State House will be closed Wednesday “out of an abundance of caution” as the investigation continues into the cause of an apparent electrical fire Tuesday that forced the evacuation of the building, according to state officials.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of the Boston Fire Department, Mass State Police and DCR Rangers to ensure the safety of all officials, staff and visitors and are working diligently to reopen the building as quickly and safely as possible,” said Tammy Kraus, Superintendent of the State House.

Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll were among those who safely exited the building after the fire was reported at 2:12 p.m., State Police said.


As of 5 p.m., the fire had been extinguished by the Boston Fire Department, State Police said. Firefighters were escorting employees back into the building to retrieve their belongings, the agency said.

Boston Fire Commissioner Paul Burke told reporters outside the State House that high voltage wires that feed into a transformer in the basement began burning, causing the fire shortly after 2 p.m.

Burke said the location, the type of fire, and dangerous fumes in the basement prevented firefighters from quickly putting it out. “It was in a tunnel and the smoke and the quality of the air were a problem,” he said.

Burke said investigators would determine an exact cause, but suggested “overheated wires, probably” sparked it. The fire caused no structural damage to the building, Burke said, though there may be some smoke damage to rooms in the basement.

Burke said a fire alarm earlier in the day at the State House was likely unconnected to the fire.

Kraus said in a statement earlier Tuesday that the building was closed for the rest of Tuesday “due to ongoing concerns regarding elevated carbon monoxide levels.”


“We are grateful for the quick and coordinated action of the Boston Fire Department, Mass State Police and DCR Rangers in keeping our elected and appointed officials, staff and members of the public safe,” she said.

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio stood outside the State House on Derne Street during the evacuation, without her wallet and phone.

”This has never happened since I’ve been working on Beacon Hill over the course of the last 11 years,” said DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat who has served as a state senator and legislative aide. “We assumed it was either a fire drill or that somebody pulled the fire alarm.”

State Senator Jamie Eldridge tweeted that a committee hearing he had been chairing was interrupted by the fire.

“@TeamEldridgeMA is biding time at Capitol Coffee,” he wrote.

On Twitter, Boston Globe reporters posted photos of the response from fire officials.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story misattributed a quote from Superintendent of the House Tammy Kraus to Gov. Maura Healey. The Globe regrets the error. This story will be updated.

Samantha J. Gross can be reached at Follow her @samanthajgross. Matt Stout can be reached at Follow him @mattpstout. Travis Andersen can be reached at