An early morning fire on Sunday at in Braintree that caused nearly $2 million worth of damage dislodged 16 seniors who were placed with their families or other facilities by midday.
"It went extremely well," said Robert James, director of the , which along with Braintree and other local fire departments, the Red Cross and Grove Manor staff brought 15 of the residents temporarily to Doherty Gym on Sunday morning. Another resident was picked up by family beforehand, James said.
The fire broke out in the assisted living area of the Grove Street property at about 2:30 a.m., Fire Chief Kevin Murphy said. It caused $1.7 million worth of damage, mainly to the outside of the building, along with smoke and water damage inside. The bulk of the cost will be from the water damage, Murphy said, especially because regulations require that any wiring that gets wet be replaced.
An investigation by the state fire marshal's office determined that the cause of the fire was careless disposal of smoking materials. The material, such as a cigarette, could have been smoldering in the mulch outside for hours before the alarm rang at the fire department, Murphy said. There were no serious injuries.
At 4 a.m., James said Mayor Joseph Sullivan called him to get his team together and prepare the gym for the residents. Cots were pulled together, water was made available and other supplies were brought in with help from the Red Cross. By about 11 a.m., James said, the 15 residents at Doherty had been picked up by family members or brought to other assisted living facilities.
James said Braintree hasn't had anything quite like this in his memory, but that training paid off. "It went off kind of flawlessly," he said.
The staff at Grove Manor is grateful that everyone is safe, Marketing Director Wendy Wichroski said on Monday morning, and the damaged portion of the building will be "rebuilt in no time."