What's Next for Prospective Tenants After Fire in Boston's Dorchester Neighborhood?

The fire Wednesday at the Treadmark building, under construction in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, was a stubborn one, and it kept firefighters busy for nearly 24 hours.

For those who were about to move into the new building, the fire created a major headache.

"One of our largest concerns, making sure that the building is safe," Sheila Dillon, chief of housing for the City of Boston said Thursday. "They were probably starting to pack and really excited about moving in, and especially if they had kids getting ready for school, etc."

The building was made up of 83 units, 32 home ownership ones, and 51 designated for affordable rental.

"Those calls are going to be difficult," Dillon said. "I'm sure they saw the news last night. The city wants them to know they are not alone, and we will be working with them."

Many residents were set to move in in Mid-July.

"Some of this is going to be where are they now, and if they have already given notice, contracting those landlords and saying we have a very unusual situation," Dillon said.

"Whenever you have a big fire like this especially when you're so close to completion, hundreds of lives are turned inside out," said David White, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

White says most of the condo buyers would have already handed over five to 10 percent for deposits.

"It's got to be nerve-wracking," said White. "Most of those costs should come back, but whenever you take out a loan, you have to have appraisals, you have to have all kinds of documentation, that's money that does not come back."

Deposits should be in escrow, so that money would be safe.

If buyers now want out because of the fire and the damage, White says they should be able to do so.

"Most purchase and sale agreements will have an escape clause," said White.

Mary Mitchell, who has lived in the neighborhood since the late 1980s, was looking forward to getting some new neighbors.

"I just thank God there wasn't anyone into the place," she said. "I just feel sorry for the people that coming in in a few weeks."

"We are deeply grateful to all of the firefighters, police, and city and state agencies that worked throughout the night to keep our neighborhood safe," Jim Keefe of Trinity Financial said in a statement. "Now that fire is out, our primary mission is to redouble our efforts to fulfill our promise of providing long-term affordable housing in the Peabody Square neighborhood."

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