Monday, November 21, 2011

Update on the Teele Square Fire Site

Resident Question: Can you give us the update on the Teele Square fire site?

Answer: Weather-permitting, demolition of the buildings damaged in the Teele Square fire should be complete by the middle of next week (about Nov. 30th), but asbestos in the structure must be safely removed first. Inspectors identified asbestos in the roof and basement. Therefore, before demolishing the structure, the owner and the state were required to await an abatement plan from the state. An abatement plan designates how to remove hazardous materials safely.

On Friday, November 18, this material was removed from the building's boiler room. The next step, which should begin today, Monday, November 21, will be to safely remove the roofing. Once that is complete, the structure will be torn down and a temporary walkway will be installed. The property owner will then need to determine how and when to move forward with reconstruction.


  1. Are there any updates available about the former tenants?

  2. According to the City's Inspectional Services Department, the owner of Maria's Italian Cold Cuts would like to reopen as soon as possible, but unfortunately the building is still unsafe. ISD has not heard from the owners of Kee Kar Lau or the Nail Image nail salon. Rainbow Carpet is open and operating, and the police substation is operating out of the Public Safety Building in Union Square. When I can turn up more news, I'll post it. But that's all that is available now.

  3. Is the part of the building with Maria's Cold Cuts and Kee Kar Lau being demolished also, or just Hawk Cleaners and the nail salon?

  4. We received a comment via Twitter asking if firefighters or residents were exposed to asbestos during the Teele Square fire. Here is a response from Deputy Chief of Operations, Patrick J. Sullivan, III, of the Somerville Fire Department:

    Asbestos does not burn during a fire. All firefighters are equipped with positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which protects their respiratory systems for all type of inhalation hazards including asbestos. The risk associated with asbestos is when it is broken up into small pieces and the asbestos fibers get inhaled into the lungs, after prolonged exposure this can lead to health issues. If asbestos is disturbed, the water from the fire extinguishment will prevent the fibers from becoming airborne. Once asbestos is suspected at a fire scene, a licensed asbestos contractor is called in to remove the hazard before any demolition is conducted.

  5. Ron, Unfortunately, four storefront spaces affected by the Teele Square fire will have to be demolished. They are Hawk Cleaners, the Nail Image nail salon, Kee Kar Lau restaurant and the Somerville Police substation.

  6. Sorry to hear this, but thanks for responding.

    (Why do these comments not show up in the Recent Comments section of the right column?)

  7. Maria's Cold Cuts has also been demolished.

  8. Does anyone know if the cause of the fire was ever determined?

  9. Anonymous, According to Deputy Chief of Operations, Patrick J. Sullivan III, the fire in Teele Square has been investigated by the Somerville Fire Dept., Somerville Police Dept., the Massachusetts State Police attached to the Fire Marshall’s office, and the ATF (the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). The fire has been determined to be accidental in origin and the specific cause is undetermined.


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