SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 24, 2013

Firefighters tackle art gallery blaze

MARBLEHEAD — The firefighters who battled a blaze at a Pleasant Street art gallery in the freezing cold yesterday afternoon managed to salvage some of the artwork inside.

No injuries were reported.

The Fire Department received a 3:21 p.m. report of a basement fire at the Bang Tin Gallery at 124 Pleasant St. Fire Chief Jason Gilliland arrived first to the scene and immediately went to work with a handheld extinguisher on flames showing on an exterior corner of the four-story building, Lt. Michael Porter said.

Group 3, led by Capt. Elizabeth Wilson, arrived soon thereafter, and crews went about opening up the walls to determine the extent of the fire. Porter said the flames went up the inside of the walls to an apartment on the second floor.

Firefighters quickly tried to save as much artwork as they could while battling the blaze from inside and out.

“It’s an art gallery, so we’re being real careful inside,” Porter said. “We moved some of the paintings that were in the window because they were going to get wet.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Porter said it appeared to have started in the crawl space beneath the gallery.

Crews cleared the scene at 5:08 p.m.

“The crews did a great job, a fantastic job of stopping it,” Porter said. “That could’ve been a lot worse.”

Porter said the building would be closed to residents last night because wiring issues prohibited power from being hooked back up after the blaze. At least two tenants in the apartments above the gallery were affected, one of whom managed to rescue her unharmed cat after the fire was put out.

Swampscott’s Engine 21 responded to the scene, and a crew from Salem provided coverage at Marblehead headquarters.

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