HOPKINTON—A 3-alarm fire on Mayhew Street started with the improper disposal of smoking materials, Hopkinton Fire Chief William R. Miller and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said.
“As spring approaches, we see more people coming out of the house to smoke on porches and stairways,” said Chief Miller. “There’s no safe way to smoke, but if you must smoke then be sure to use a sturdy ashtray with water or sand. Too many home fires start when smoking materials are stubbed out on a railing or stairway, or flicked into a planter or mulch.”
“There are no smoke alarms on the outside of a house,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “A fire on the porch or in debris along the side of the building can get a foothold before anyone knows it’s started, allowing it to spread further and cause more damage before firefighters arrive. That’s why it’s so important to put it out, all the way, every time.”
Fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of fire fatalities in Massachusetts, outnumbering all other known causes combined in 2020.
“Fortunately, this fire took place during the day and there were no injuries,” said Chief Miller and State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “If it had been late at night, while people were sleeping, it could have led to a devastating tragedy.”
Hopkinton firefighters responded to a 9-1-1 call at about 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon and found heavy smoke and flames showing from a second-floor porch on the left side of the building, with flames extending into the third floor and attic. A second and third alarm were struck because an aggressive attack on the fire required additional manpower, and firefighters were able to bring it under control in about an hour.
Firefighters from Upton, Ashland, Southborough, Westborough, Milford, Hopedale, and Framingham provided mutual aid at the scene, and firefighters from Northborough covered Hopkinton stations.
The Department of Fire Services deployed Rehab 7, a custom support apparatus that provides heat, hydration, and other services to assist first responders.
The cause of the fire was jointly investigated by the Hopkinton Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office.