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Six-alarm fire rips through West Roxbury condos; three injured as leaking gas fed the flames

Fire on VFW Parkway in West Roxbury

VFW Parkway fire. Photo by BFD.

Boston firefighters responded at 5:50 a.m. to 1212 VFW Parkway - across from the Home Depot - for a fire that quickly escalated to six alarms as a leaking gas main kept feeding the flames.

Firefighters were ordered out of the three-story building and tried to keep the fire from spreading as they waited for a utility crew to shut off the gas, the Boston Fire Department reports.

One resident and two firefighters were taken to a local hospital with injuries not considered life threatening.

The department says 36 people were displaced and estimated damage at $2 million.

VFW Parkway fire
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National Grid is fighting Councillor Matt O'Malley's ordinance that would require Grid to fix the many hundreds of gas leaks that are in the city at a faster rate.

Voting closed 18

Those scattered, subterranean leaks kill trees and waste gas. I don't think they have much in common with leaks like this that cause buildings that catch on fire.

It's like comparing a water main break with a drippy faucet.

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You and I are paying for all the gas they are losing through leaks. Also we pay to replace all the trees on city sidewalks that are killed off by leaking gas. The State should go after them.

Voting closed 35

Let's hope that City Councillor Matt O'Malley's ordinance that would require National Grid to fix the many hundred of gas leaks that are in the city at a much faster rate than they're presently doing goes through. Without being a resident of West Roxbury, or knowing City Councillor Matt O'Malley personally, I wish him victory in this fight!

Voting closed 13

The fire was gas fed. At one point in the twitter feed it says, 'fire confined to the unit of origin'.
They had to wait for the gas co (either eversource or grid) to kill the gas at the street.
So, the leak really isn't on the gas company at all. It's the building itself, possibly a ruptured stove line.

Voting closed 8

That could be an issue. Response time matters - particularly in this case.

If the condos were fairly new, shouldn't they have some sort of automatic shut offs or something that BFD can do themselves?

Voting closed 9

That's an NPT (on the bottom) thread to a tubing type fitting. It could be used at the stove/piping interface. Valves like that are used on propane setups a lot. If you take a full cookout grill tank before it's connected and turn it on, you'll get a surprise.

Nothing comes out. The old ones have been replaced with a newer style with different threads. Years ago I saw a picture of a Korean army veteran at a protest. He had a 25 lb propane tank and with the help of someone else (with a flare to ignite it) was using it as a flamethrower.
Two morals of the story here...one is flow valves are good and I have no idea what the latest plumbing codes require, other is pay your ROK army pensions.

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As it is done from the main/street but I'm not 100% sure.

I also don't think this started as a gas fire.

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I was told that a car was parked (presumable legally) on top of the gas shut off which delayed access to shutting off the valve.

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They didn't wait at all.
Look at the first picture. The place is going pretty good. Second pic shows the fire pretty much knocked down. Now, look at the middle of the second picture. See that fire burning? They left it there on purpose because you never put out burning gas or it will just build up and explode.

Chief said that on channel 5 earlier tonight.

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Let’s all remember that there is a difference between a fire caused gas leak and a fire fueled by a gas leak. Gas lines can be compromised during a fire.

Voting closed 34

I think one of the units on the 3rd floor was just sold a month ago. Sucks for the new owners. Hopefully their insurance and the condo insurance will cover everything.

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The 1218 units were not affected. That's an adjacent building. The fire was at 1212

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Next you're going blow my mind by telling me that building them flammable and densely packed is more dangerous than spacing them out.

Glad it's only things that got destroyed this time but it could have easily been worse. And it keeps on happening because density-on-the-cheap is not discouraged.

Voting closed 9

The middle picture shows a pretty distinct vertical line between the burned portion of the complex and the left end of it. I'd be curious to see the construction at that point thru the building. Probably a fire separation?

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Probably what you are seeing. But there are also brick fireplaces on each end of the unit and those walls are probably brick which separate the living room from bedrooms (to the left that appear to be untouched.

I'm guessing the balconies went up first and if there was a gas leak, the fire hit that too.

You rarely see "gas leaks" be the cause of fires and when they do, there will be an explosion, not a fire like this.

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I zoomed in and the edge of the balconies are distinct from the edge of the soot darkened facade.

plus this link to google street view

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Looks like they had a lot going on this morning and last night. A lot of displaced folks.

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Hi, I have a gift card to donate. Are any banks or local chairpeople collecting? Thanks!

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