Firefighters battled a raging and smoky blaze at an abandoned factory building Wednesday in Rockland, Massachusetts.
The initial call for the fire at 76 Park St. came in around 4:45 a.m., and high winds fueled the flames into a 7-alarm inferno.
By 7:30 a.m., the massive fire was under control, but still burning, according to Rockland Fire Chief Scott Duffey.
The fire was also contained to the abandoned building, but surrounding homes were evacuated. Fire officials say about 20 residents have been affected. The roaring blaze was so powerful that it caused heat damage to several homes on Webster Street.
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Haz-mat crews have been called to the scene, and power was also shut off in the immediate area.
Rockland Fire Capt. Thomas Heaney, one of the first firefighters at the scene, said he never expected to encounter a fire like this one in Rockland.
"It was the most impressive thing I've ever seen," he said.
Surrounding streets have been shut down, including Union Street between Taunton and Belmont; Webster Street from Union to Liberty; Church Street from Franklin; Howard Street from East Water to Webster; Stanton Street; Everett Street; and Wall Street. Residents are encouraged to take alternative routes and to be aware of traffic in the area.
Crews are expected to be on scene all day to put out hot spots, and a total of 13 communities responded with mutual aid to the massive fire.
No injuries were reported.
Rockland schools went on a 2-hour delay due to the fire.
We've been told the building has been vacant for at least 10 years.
Although the fire is not considered suspicious at this time, the cause of the fire is still unknown and the investigation is ongoing. Investigators are asking for anyone with video of the fire in its earliest stages to contact Rockland police at 781-871-3890 or the State Fire Marshal at 1-800-682-9229.