Businesses ‘in shambles’ after fire in Oxford

It took firefighters from several towns nearly six hours to put out a blaze at a building in Oxford.
oxford fire department
It took firefighters from several towns nearly six hours to put out a blaze at a building in Oxford.

A three-alarm fire all but destroyed a building housing four businesses in Oxford on Friday night, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

Lieutenant Nicholas Lambert, a spokesman for the Oxford Fire Department, said the department received a call from 710 Main St. just before 7 p.m.

“A gentleman in the building reported smoke and the smell of burning,” Lambert said. He added that the building had working smoke alarms, but the fire broke out above them, in the attic.


Businesses located in the building included land surveying companies and an antique store.

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James Smith and his brother George own three of the companies — New England Land Survey, Tauper Land Survey, and Summit Engineering — as well as the building.

“I’m standing here looking at the back of the building,” Smith said in a phone interview Saturday morning. “It’s pretty much in shambles.”

Captain Jon Belanger was the first to arrive on the scene just seven minutes after receiving the call. According to Lambert, Belanger boosted the fire to two alarms upon arrival, then three by 7:33 p.m.

“There was severe damage to the roof, with a collapse of part of the roof into the building,” Lambert said.


Multiple towns responded to the blaze including Leicester, Charlton, Dudley, Webster, Webster EMS, Millbury, Southbridge, Douglas, Sutton, Northbridge, Worcester Box 4, and Upton Fire, according to a statement from Oxford Fire-EMS.

It took nearly six hours to put out the blaze, Lambert said.

“We’ve been up all night,” Lambert said on Saturday morning. “We didn’t clear the fire scene until 1:11 in the morning.”

Lambert said officials believe it was an electrical fire, although he emphasized that the cause remains under investigation. The damage is estimated at $1 million, according to the statement.

Smith said firefighters recovered much of the field equipment from his surveying and engineering businesses, but most of the office equipment is “just decimated.” He added that he and his co-owner brother have “a few insurances,” but he has not heard from an agent yet.


The other business located at 710 Main St. is Rust to Ruffles, a group shop for antiques and collectibles. The owner, Lisa Caccialino, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

According to Smith, an electrician was scheduled to replace lights in the building later this month. He believes that if the work had begun, a technician may have found any potential electrical issues before a fire could break out.

“If this was two or three weeks from now, I don’t believe that light would have had a problem,” Smith said. “But you never know.”

Rowan Walrath can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rswalrath.