Blue Line Subway Service Disrupted After East Boston Blaze

Two days after a 9-alarm fire struck the New England Casket Company in East Boston, commuters along the Revere stretch of the Blue Line are grappling with rail disruptions.

The MBTA is currently running shuttle buses between the Airport and Wonderland Blue Line subway stations as crews try to mitigate flooding caused by the Friday blaze. The Suffolk Downs stop is not being serviced due to road closures, according to the MBTA.

Official were unable to say when normal services would resume.

Meanwhile, demolition at the New England Casket Company – a three-generation family business – is underway, said owner Louis Tobia, Sr.

The devastating fire destroyed the building, which has operated there for 75 years. The family business was started by his father.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Tobia said. “But you know you can’t bury your head in the sand.”

The family believes a rooftop furnace may have caused the fire, which quickly spread through the Bennington Street structure.

Mayor Marty Walsh said the building’s layout was an ongoing concern for the city’s fire commissioner. The building had been expanded in several renovations over the years. The layout, combined with some of the chemicals used, made it a challenging fire to try to extinguish.

Tobia says he plans to rebuild the business, possibly within six months, and get his 100 employees back to work.

Both Mayor Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker have said they plan to look into the issue.

Initially, firefighters were ordered out of the burning building due to unstable conditions that ultimately caused three buildings to collapse.

The entire area surrounding the buildings was also evacuated Friday afternoon. By Friday night, Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn announced that residents of Orient Heights could return home.

Mayor Walsh said Friday it was the biggest fire he’s seen during his tenure as mayor.

Two Boston police officers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, two Boston firefighters were hospitalized for exhaustion and one Chelsea firefighter suffered a leg injury.

The fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: MBTA

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