Multi-alarm fire in Cohasset sparked by welding, officials say

COHASSET, Mass. — Firefighters battled a 3-alarm fire at an auto body shop in Cohasset as the region continued to experience gusty winds and dry weather conditions on Thursday.

Crews responding to the fire on South Main Street found explosive oxygen tanks inside the building.

On Friday, the state fire marshal said the blaze was sparked by welding. The fire originated in one of the repair bays during a welding operation and spread quickly due to the oil and gas in the shop.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which broke out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

It took more than two hours and 40 firefighters to knock down the fire.

"It started pretty quickly. Flames started coming out and by the time we got here there were clouds of smoke coming out," said Assistant Cohasset Fire Chief John Dockrey.

Thankfully, the upstairs neighbor wasn't home during the blaze but employees from the auto body shop were.

"The repair shop was in operation at the time, mechanics were outside the building repairing another vehicle when they noticed smoke coming from the building, and called 911," Dockrey said.

Heavy smoke and flames could be seen billowing out of the roof of the building.

Firefighters needed to battle the flames at bay, after learning explosive tanks and ammunition were stored inside.

"Very hazardous to us with explosions, obviously. The repair shop had oxygen tanks that they use for their normal day-to-day operations and they had ammunition in the building," Dockrey said. "Thank God the fire didn’t fringe on the ammunition so there was no danger from that (fire)."

Neighbors say the shop is a staple in the community.

"Great outfit, great bunch of people, just very sad," said Sam Pease.

Norwell, Hanover and Hull were among communities providing mutual aid.

State environmental officials were on scene Thursday night to evaluate the local water supply. Fire officials say they're monitoring oil from the shop that may have seeped into the storm drains.

The fire broke out as the region is seeing several brush fires, including in Wenham.

Also Thursday afternoon, Boston firefighters were battling a fire at a building under construction at Tremont and Stuart streets in the city's Theater District.