A fire broke out late Monday night at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, drawing a wide response from firefighters.
Smoke and flames could be seen pouring from the roof of the building late into the night. The Boston Fire Department commissioner said no injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is being investigated.
The Boston Fire Department received the call around 10 p.m. and encountered heavy smoke on the upper floors, which is the simulcast area of the old race track.
All fire crews were ordered off the roof and contractors were using the tower and several ladder hoses to attack the fire from above, the Boston Fire Department said as it battled the fire.
Due to the limited water supply in the area, fire crews are taking turns pumping to deliver water to the flames and they had to run thousands of feet of lines.
The commissioner said firefighters also deployed his drone to help fight the blaze, and pictures uploaded showed the fire from above, as well as thermal imaging of the fire, which helps to isolate it.
Commissioner John Dempsey was checking footage from the drone as fire crews continued to work to put out the flames two hours after they first appeared.
As of 1 a.m. Tuesday, Dempsey said the blaze was under control and crews were chasing hot spots. Security was also on site.
The local landmark hasn’t seen live horse racing in three years, but it is still simulcasting races. The racing site tweeted earlier on Monday that it would be simulcasting “holiday races from coast to coast!”
The old race track holds a special place in the hearts of many locals.
Officials just days ago kicked off the sprawling property’s redevelopment project which is expected to take eight years, according to The Revere Journal – a far cry from the 62 days it took to build the runway in 1935.
The massive Suffolk Downs redevelopment was approved by the Boston planning agency in 2020. Plans call for a mixed-use neighborhood with shopping malls near its two MBTA Blue Line stations, three residential buildings and a half-million square feet of office space and amenities.
The new Suffolk Downs site will be dedicated to testing first responders only, and they will need an appointment.
The space also served as a COVID-19 testing site through Project Beacon, allowing residents to get free drive-through PCR tests.