Official Statement from Dennis Fire Department on today's two-alarm blaze:
At 4:31 PM, The Dennis Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 411 Upper County Rd, South Dennis. 911 dispatchers began receiving calls from neighbors with the first caller reporting that the roof was on fire at a nearby boathouse building adjacent to her property. First arriving firefighters reported the 40 x 60 boathouse building fully involved. The building was a heavy timber structure approximately 35 ft high, with 4 large boats inside burning and 4 boats outside and an antique pick up truck parked adjacent to the front entrance. 2 of the boats outside were destroyed and the other boat and pickup truck received minimal fire damage. Also inside the commercial boat company building were cranes, electrical, and a series of commercial boat operation equipment, all destroyed in the fire. Adding to the fuel load causing the heavy fire and black smoke were the composite materials and fiberglass of the 4 boats burning inside. Once the heavy fire was knocked down, firefighters needed to exercise caution entering the building to extinguish hidden pockets of fire with part of the roof which has collapsed and the heavy fire damage to the rear walls of the structure. Firefighters were able to hold back the flames from attached section to the building which had a separate area storing 3- 25’ Wianno Senior recreational boats and there was no damage to those units.
Residents living in a residential building at 411 Upper County Rd, were evacuated by Dennis Police as a precaution and those residents were allowed back into the building around 730pm.
Most of the heavy fire was knocked down by firefighters within an hour and declared under control with extensive overhaul at 6:35 PM.
The second alarm pulled firefighters from Harwich, Yarmouth, and Brewster to the fire scene with Barnstable and Chatham providing coverage for both Dennis Fire Stations.
There were no injuries reported from the fire and the American Red Cross provided canteen support to firefighter on scene. Dennis Police assisted with evacuations and scene control and Upper County Rd was closed for several hours due to the fire by Police.
The Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office and the Dennis Police Detective Unit are assisting with the fire investigation with the Dennis Fire Dept inspector on scene during Saturday evening and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
In the early stages of the fire, flames were reportedly shooting 30-40 ft from the top of the building and the heavy black smoke from the resin, and fiberglass from the boats and equipment, blew towards South Dennis residential neighborhoods with the smoke seen for several miles in all directions.
Many people were concerned of the toxic results of the smoke to the nearby residential areas from the boathouse by products. YouTube videos show the black smoke covering large areas adjacent to the fire building however the smoke quickly moved out due to winds creating no further health hazards.
Most Dennis Fire units cleared the scene by approximately 8pm.
Chief Mark Dellner
Dennis Fire Department