By Alan Burke
---- — IPSWICH — A fire that drew companies from Topsfield, Rowley and Essex, in addition to Ipswich, has destroyed a building off Route 1 that housed a plumbing business.
No injuries were reported. But the building, down a short drive at 39 Turnpike Road, was gutted and the walls blackened so that firefighters were tearing them down to insure that no flames lurked.
“We had to pull everything out,” said Ipswich Fire Chief Jack Parow, “and hose it down.”
The owner of the business reported the fire, according to Ipswich Fire Lt. Donald George.
The response to the blaze was slightly delayed when firefighters discovered that the nearest hydrant had frozen in the cold, and they had to find an alternative hydrant. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by Fire Prevention and state police.
There are questions about whether the fire started in a wood stove or because of some electrical problem, Parow said. A nearby shop was also damaged.
The fire was put out in about 45 minutes, but great plumes of smoke swirled around the site and into the trees for some time after that. Parow said there was little concern, however, that there were toxins in the building.
It’s not uncommon for hydrants to freeze in the winter, he said, and fire trucks carry hundreds of gallons of water to deal with such problems.
Crews from Hamilton, Wenham and Manchester covered the town while Ipswich firefighters worked at the fire scene.