Residents Not Likely to Return to Building After Bunker Hill Fire

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) reported that no one was seriously injured in a major fire at one of the buildings on Tufts Street in the Bunker Hill Housing development, but with that building within the first phase of the redevelopment of the campus, displaced residents likely will not return to those units.

BHA Spokesperson Lydia Agro said six families were displaced to other units within the Bunker Hill Development after a fire tore through an apartment on the second floor of 45 Tufts St. early Sunday morning, causing about $500,000 in damages. Those families, who are now settled elsewhere in the development, likely will not return to their original units – as they were scheduled to be relocated soon for the massive redevelopment project.

“We’re still estimating the damage,” said Agro, noting that the most important thing was there were no injuries. “We have insurance but because it’s part of the of the first phase of redevelopment and due to be torn down some time soon, it may be that it doesn’t get repaired. It’s in Phase 1B, and it takes time to sort out the insurance and all that, and it may be it ends up being boarded up and then demolished. If it were in a different phase, we would certainly repair it, but with it in Phase 1B, that may not happen.”

She said because of the redevelopment, units were already online and ready for relocation efforts within Bunker Hill. That allowed families in each of the six units at 45 Tufts St. to quickly get units nearby. Now, they might be staying there until after Phase 1.

“The families in that building were going to be relocated anyway, but not yet,” she said. “This isn’t clearly how we wanted to relocate them, but it was great this was ready and we were able to keep them on site. That doesn’t always happen.”

The fire broke out in one apartment on the second floor around 1:30 a.m., with major flames showing upon the arrival of fire companies. District Chief Dennis Keeley said they were able to contain the fire to one apartment and quickly knock it down. Two adults and one child were transported for medical care, but they were returned back to the site soon after being cleared by doctors. Eight residents in six units were displaced, and the cause is still under investigation.

Agro said there was smoke damage and water damage in other units, and the electricity for all six units had to be cut  – as well as gas service to some units. All six families were relocated to other units, but they lost everything in the fire.

“We’re just very fortunate no one got hurt,” said Agro. “At the end of the day, that’s what is most important.”

Already, the Kennedy Center and the Charlestown Residents Alliance have begun an effort to aid the fire victims – an effort that has been taken up very successfully in previous devastating fires over the last few years.

The Kennedy Center this week announced a donation drive for the families affected by the fire. They are accepting clothes, gift cards, toiletries, and non-perishable food items. Donations can be dropped off at 55 Bunker Hill St. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Crystal Galvin at [email protected].

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