4-alarm fire that ripped through historic Northbridge home not considered suspicious, officials say
There were “intense fire conditions” on the second and third floors and the rear of the building when firefighters arrived, he said.
Crews attempted to fight the fire from the inside, but were unable to contain it, and the fire quickly spread throughout the building, the statement said. Crews were pulled from the building and continued to fight the fire from the outside.
“Because of the type of construction these buildings have, when they catch fire they are extremely difficult to combat,” White said.
The roof collapsed and crews were forced to fight the fire from the outside, White told reporters at the scene on Friday.
“The fire spread . . . We just couldn’t keep up,” White said, according to video released by WCVB.
A firefighter was injured when the roof collapsed and was taken to hospital. The firefighter was treated and released from hospital, White said.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control around midnight. A fire watch continued to put out hot spots until early Saturday morning.
State Police fire investigators assigned to the state fire marshal’s office responded to the scene Friday night, spokesman Jake Wark said in an email.
A rehabilitation truck, equipped with resources to help firefighters, was also dispatched to the scene, Wark said. A drone was also deployed to assist firefighters.
According to city property recordsthe private home was built in 1871. It has an assessed value of $871,800.
The house was built for industrialist James F. Whitin, who built the nearby Linwood Cotton Mill in 1866, according to the Northbridge Historical Society.
“Its scale and design reflected James Whitin’s prosperity and social status as owner and manager of the Linwood mill,” according to the company.
Carol H. Brouwer, the company’s clerk, called the property “a big old house” and its loss to the community is “enormous.”
“It was one of the few remaining mansions in Whitinsville,” Brouwer said, referring to the town’s historic mill district. “Most of them have disappeared… some have burned.”
The Victorian was a three-story house with a shed in the back, Brouwer said. The house had a grand staircase, high ceilings and large windows. Formerly, it also served as an inn.
“I actually walked by today, but I was looking at the swans next door,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer said she and her husband once gave a stay at the Victorian inn as a wedding gift to their friends.
“It’s really the only hotel, or a nice place in town to stay,” Brouwer said.
Shelley J. Buma, also of the Northbridge Historical Society, said the house had at least one well-known guest.
“In the past, actor Paul Newman was a known frequent guest at the Victorian Inn,” Buma said.
Adam Sennott can be contacted at [email protected]