Blaze Sends Residents, Firefighters into Frigid Night

No one was hurt in the Central St. blaze, which as many as 60 firefighters fought for several hours.

As many as 60 firefighters fought frigid temperatures as they battled a three-alarm fire on Central St. early Thursday morning. 

No one was hurt in the fire, which destroyed the building at 66 Central St., where the  OS Meninos Brasil check cashing service and store was located on the ground level. 

Fire Chief John Touhey said three tenants were evacuated from the second and third floors, some escaping by using a window that led to a fire-floor roof. 

The first calls for the fire were received around 12:20 a.m. The first crews to arrive found heavy smoke and fire and quickly called for backup. In the end, firefghters from Hopkinton and Hopedale were among those who joined 30 firefighters from Milford in fighting the fire.

"The conditions were very difficult," Touhey said. Crews from the Milford Highway Department were on hand spreading salt and sand on ice-covered roadways. The first hydrant tapped had a leak, the chief said, forcing crews to lay lines from another on Main Street. 

Crews initially attempted to fight the fire from inside the structure. After nearly an hour of doing so, the chief ordered all firefighters out of the building. 

"You worry about structural integrity after that much exposure to fire," Touhey said.

"Our concern at that point became containing the fire to this structure, which we were able to do," he added, pointing to a building just a few feet away from the one that burned. 

Firefighters continued to battle the fire another two hours before it was brought under control around 4 a.m. 

No information on the cause of the blaze was available, but it appeared to have started on the first floor. Touhey said the state Fire Marshal's office was on scene to conduct interviews and investigate possible causes. 

Central Street and some adjacent roadways remained closed several hours after the fire as water used to douse the blaze froze nearly on contact in temperatures that dropped into the mid-teens. "We had a few slips and falls, but fortunately no serious injuries," Touhey said. 

UglyHat January 20, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Would you frequent such a store in that location? Part of the reason downtown isn’t the way it was 20 years ago is because our habits have changed. It’s difficult to find parking downtown so we go to Target or Kohl’s. There used to be an Aubuchon Hardware store downtown. Do you think that type of store could make it in that location today? Remember sidewalk sales? I don’t walk downtown (or anywhere) to buy stuff anymore. If I walk, it’s for exercise or because something’s wrong. The types of stores in any given area are a reflection of all of the people, not just the ones that hang the signs and open the businesses.
UglyHat January 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM
A few more American flags would be nice though.
Kim Poness January 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Well said, UglyHat. I sometimes wonder if people understand those simple principles of marketing. We have the same issue in Framingham. People say they want more American businesses downtown, but generally speaking (VERY generally, as I know a lot of people who actually do frequent the downtown area, myself included), Americans don't want to go downtown. I've been through Milford many times, and I have to say, you have an architecturally lovely downtown area. What potential you have there.
Jim Rizoli January 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Milford definitely has a nice downtown building speaking wise. Your problems are the same as Framinhgham with the illegal businesses or I should say those who operate them who shouldn't even be working in the U.S. What is the answer? Good question. I wish the Selectmen were more curious who are the people working in these stores, and you would think they would want to make sure everything is on the up and up. In Framingham if you can walk and breathe you can open a store up. Their background not too important. There should be more regulation on who does what. When establishments are run by people of questionable status, it just encourages more of that type of lifestyle to get involved in more illegal activities. The town will eventually suffer for it, and it will cost the taxpayers more for it down the road. Jim@ccfiile.com
Joe Rizoli January 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM
ALL towns should have a public record on what businesses are in their downtown's and WHO owns the business. The towns should be concerned with new businesses that open up in their downtown's and the Selectmen and appropriate boards should ask questions about WHO runs the business, are the businesses in compliance with the laws as to hiring Illegals. These are simple questions that my town doesn't even ask, and you wonder why it looks the way it does. The Cafe Belo was a perfect example of inept transparency. Joe


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