Here's another, better article about the fire in my old neighborhood....
Boston 4-alarm fire destroys restaurants
By Jessica Fargen
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
One hundred Boston firefighters braved the freezing cold overnight to battle a fast-moving fire that caused $5 million in damage to six restaurants and a dry cleaning business near Fenway Park [map] and caused the evacuation of 130 people, according to the Boston Fire Department.
“It’s almost all the good restaurants in the neighborhood right here, all lined up. It’s just a shame, really,” said Peter Wick, 25, who lamented the loss of El Pelon, where his favorite menu item was the steak burrito. “It’s a little shocking. I hope they find out what happened.”
The fire broke out at 1:57 a.m. at Thornton’s Fenway Grill on Peterborough Street and quickly became a four-alarm inferno. Flames spread to Sorento’s Italian Gourmet, Umi Japanese Restaurant, Greek Isles, Rod-Dee Thai Cuisine II, El Pelon Taqueria and a dry cleaning business. The string of one-story businesses on the block from 84 to 98 Peterborough Street were completely, or nearly completely destroyed, MacDonald said.
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One hundred thirty people in 98 units, mostly elderly and disabled people, were evacuated from a five-story apartment building next door after heavy smoke filled the units, said Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald. Residents were welcomed into the nearby William McKinley Preparatory High School, which was opened as a shelter.
Residents are only being allowed back inside their apartments to pick up medication and belongings because of concern over elevated levels of carbon monoxide inside, said John Hardiman, acting director of emergency management for the city. American Red Cross volunteers assisted residents this morning and a mobile shelter trailer will be arriving shortly, said Red Cross spokesman Patrick Baldwin.
People who rely on the eateries to make a living said they were just happy nobody was killed.
Tori MacMillon, 24, paused as she walked up Peterborough Street before 9 a.m. today and saw the charred shell of Thornton’s, where she started two weeks ago as a waitress. “As long as everybody’s OK. That’s all I’m worried about,” she said.
Added Jeff Zamiri, owner of Sorento’s: “Material things can be fixed. I’m just thankful nobody was hurt,” he said as he surveyed the damage.
The fire completely gutted Thornton’s, even burning away the sign, but Christmas garland could still be seen winded around a pillar in front. Holiday lights still hung from the awning at Umi and the bright blue Greek Isles sign was almost untouched. The inside of the restaurants appear to be a scorched mess.
Fire trucks remained on scene this morning and at one point firefighters doused the buildings with water after smoke started billowing from the roof.
MacDonald said 100 Boston firefighters battled the blaze, and two were injured when they slipped on ice.
MacDonald said the fire chief ordered firefighters to fight the blaze from the outside of the buildings once it was determined that no one was inside.
“The fire got up in the ceiling and traveled horizontally throughout the building, above the ceiling and below the roof,” MacDonald said, adding that roof air conditioning units were a hazard.
Part of Peterborough Street remained closed this morning.