Raging blaze reduces Lowell auto body shop to pile of charred debris

LOWELL, Mass. — Firefighters battled a raging blaze that destroyed an auto body shop in Lowell on Wednesday afternoon.

Crews responding to a report of a fire on Broadway found flames shooting from the roof of the business as thick smoke consumed the neighborhood.

Jesse Muldoon works at this business and says they had a customer signing a lease for a new car when they smelled smoke.

“At that point, we rushed for the fire extinguisher, tried to locate the source,” said Muldoon.

But they couldn’t put the fire out themselves, so they called 911.

“Companies arrived and found moderate smoke condition, went inside to put out the fire, the fire quickly flashed on them, and they ended up having to back out and we had to go defensive on the fire almost immediately,” said Chief Phillip Charron, with the Lowell Fire Department.

Chief Charron says about 80 to 90 firefighters responded to this, attacking the flames from the ground and from up above.

It took several hours to get this under control.

“The pump trucks that are in operation, they’re basically maxed out, we pulled just about every line we could, grabbed from most of the area hydrants,” said Chief Charron.

He says luckily everyone made it out safely and they’re still trying to figure out why it went up in flames so quickly.

“This is a very old building, we’re still trying to ascertain what was in it at the time, but the fire looks like it got a significant amount of headway before we could get to it and then it burst out on us,” said Chief Charron.

Muldoon says a lot of important documents and tools for their business were inside.

“All the paperwork for all the used vehicles you see around here, there’s maybe five or ten of them waiting to be sold, so all the titles and everything like that are damaged and whatnot,” said Muldoon.

He doesn’t know what they’ll do now that their shop is a pile of debris.

“Looks like I’m out of a job,” said Muldoon.

One firefighter had to be evaluated on scene, but otherwise, the Chief says there were no injuries

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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