Hundreds displaced after fire at Chestnut Hill condo complex
Hundreds of residents of a Newton condominium complex were displaced after a fire broke out in an eighth-floor unit on Monday, authorities said.
The Towers of Chestnut Hill contains 423 residential units, and up to 800 people were displaced as a result of the fire, Newton fire Lieutenant Michael Bianchi said.
“Everybody is out,” he said.
Bianchi said Eversource cut the power to the complex, located at 250 Hammond Pond Parkway.
Newton fire Chief Bruce Proia said the blaze broke out in the kitchen of an eighth-floor unit that was being painted.
“We believe it was accidental in nature,” he said.
Proia said it was too early to provide a monetary estimate on the total damage.
The fire was contained to a single unit, but there was smoke damage on a “couple of floors” and water spread down to the floors below, ultimately compromising the electrical system, he said.
“We’re working hard to fix the problems,” he said.
Although the fire was limited to a unit in the south tower, the electrical issues affected the entire complex. As a result, residents of both the north and south towers had to be evacuated and had to find somewhere else to stay for the night, officials said.
Proia said three residents suffered “very minor” injuries while they were evacuating the complex on Monday. No other injuries were reported, he said.
On Tuesday morning, Newton fire officials said a hotline (617-796-1800) has been set up for residents of The Towers of Chestnut Hill if they have questions about the fire or the recovery efforts. An assistance center for residents also has opened at the Fire Department headquarters at 1164 Centre St. in Newton.
Jeff Hall, a spokesman for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, said all but two families found a place to stay with family or friends Monday night, and the Red Cross continues to be on hand to provide food, snacks, emergency shelter, and other assistance to those affected by the fire.
“It’s a lot of people,” he said.
Mayor Ruthanne Fuller of Newton said she was relieved that the residents escaped unharmed.
“People were safe,” she said. “People were calm.”
Fuller praised the Fire Department, city officials, and the Red Cross for their efforts to help the residents in the aftermath of the fire. City officials hope residents will be able return to their homes soon.
As of Tuesday night, residents in the Chesnut Hill North Tower were allowed to move back inside, where the power and fire suppression systems were both operating, a city spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
South Tower residents were unable to return because the building’s electrical system was not yet ready to be energized. Officials advised the residents to check the City of Newton website after 10 a.m. Wednesday for updates.