The three-alarm fire that gutted a community meeting hall has been blamed on the reckless disposal of a single cigarette butt. When firefighters arrived on the scene of this raging fire on Sunday night at the Lakeview Pavilion in Foxborough, smoke was already extremely heavy and was spreading around all of the walls and even across the ceiling. There was a wedding reception underway at the pavilion, but it has already been reported that the 100 guests in attendance all escaped without injuries.
Steven Bagley, the Deputy Fire Chief of Foxborough, said that the fire was started by a single cigarette butt from the scene of the fire. He said that what appeared to have happened was that someone threw a still lit cigarette into a pile of mulch, where the flame grew into a fire and from there spread to the building where the wedding reception.
An automatic alarm was tripped at approximately 7 p.m. and firefighters quickly arrived on the scene, the pavilion is located east of Route 1 in the town. Firefighters needed to use three ladders, with hoses atop all three to douse the flames which were pouring profuse amounts of smoke into the night air.
The fire made its way through most of the building’s structure and it does not appear at this time as though the original building will remain standing. A crew is set to demolish what has been left from the fire. The Lakeview Pavilion is a very old building, built in 1906 according to its website, and is made of a wooden frame, which burned easily and is not equipped with working sprinklers.
Bagley said that having a continual water supply did prove to be a bit of a challenge, but added that his team was able to “draft out of a pond next to us here.” By 10:30 p.m. the fire had been completely knocked down and fire crews were dispatched to look for any areas that were still hot and could potentially burst back into flames if not properly guarded or extinguished.
A neighbor who lives near the Lakeview Pavilion in Foxborough said that the building is home to many weddings all year round. He added that it is a very sad occasion to lose this building and that he had just recently went to a father-daughter dance in the ballroom.
“It’s known as a really nice place – “white glove” – it’s got a good staff, great food,” the man, Bob Bailey, said.
It has been reported by the Justice of the Peace at the wedding that the whole fire started at the very end of the wedding. Right when the bride and groom, followed by the groomsmen and bridesmaids, walk back down the center aisle.
Fires can start indoors and outdoors when cigarettes are not properly disposed of and littered before being squashed out. This three alarm fire, which brought down a historic and beloved building will serve as a reminder for Foxborough, and Massachusetts, that cigarette users have an obligation to safely smoke and dispose of their cigarettes.
By Nick Manai