‘It’s a total loss’: Firefighters battle 3-alarm Fitchburg blaze for hours

Firefighters in Fitchburg on Sunday night fought a condominium blaze at Beekman and Salem streets.
Firefighters in Fitchburg on Sunday night fought a condominium blaze at Beekman and Salem streets.Photo courtesy of Joshua Coulombe

Firefighters in Fitchburg early Monday morning were continuing an hourslong battle with a condominium blaze at Beekman and Salem streets that had started in the late afternoon and stretched on into the night, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to a blaze at the Bartley Nolan complex located at 7 Beekman St. prior to 6 p.m., according to Fitchburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Anthony Marrama.

Five different communities were participating in the response to the fire, Marrama said. He said that the fire was a “special call,” meaning it required resources beyond those deployed at a typical 3-alarm fire.

As of roughly 12:45 a.m. Monday, the fire was still ongoing, Marrama said, noting that it was “more under control” than it had been earlier in the day.


No injuries had been reported as of early Sunday evening, Marrama said.

Marrama could not provide details on the building’s condition, but an employee with the management company responsible for the property said it had suffered heavy damage.

“It’s a total loss,” said Joshua Coulombe, a maintenance supervisor with building manager Empire Condominium Professionals. Coulombe, who was reached by phone, said he arrived on scene after firefighters did.

In a text message, Coulombe said the building had been on fire since an explosion earlier in the afternoon, but said he could not provide more details about the fire’s origin.

According to Coulombe, board members and tenants from the building had been moved to the basement of the nearby St. Anthony of Padua Church. He said that the company had “accounted for everyone at this time” as of 10:28 p.m. Sunday night.

Coulombe said he could not provide an exact count of tenants and board members. According to Coulombe, the Red Cross and government officials were also on site.

Coulombe said that the three-floor complex had been converted from a school building into condominiums. He said that the building has a brick exterior with wood frame construction and a full basement.


Ione Cook, a cashier at nearby M&M Variety, said that the fire had a negative effect on the air quality in the area.

“It stinks so bad, and it cuts your breath,” she said, describing heavy smoke in the air. Footage from the scene provided by Coulombe showed smoke rolling off the condominium complex as firefighters on ladders doused the roof with water.

Max Reyes can be reached at max.reyes@globe.com. Follow him on twitter @MaxJReyes.