GLOUCESTER — Mayor Greg Verga and Fire Chief Eric Smith report that multiple agencies within the City of Gloucester responded to a roof collapse in a vacant building on Commercial Street on Wednesday.
At approximately 9:15 a.m., a 911 call reported a collapse at a one-story building at 80 Commercial St., on the waterfront. No one was injured.
The Fire Department, Police Department, Harbormaster, Inspectional Services, and the Conservation Division all responded in coordination with the Mayor’s Office.
An approximately 5,000-square-foot section of roof collapsed, as did a section of the building’s wall facing Commercial Street. As a result, a natural gas connection to the building was severed, resulting in a gas leak.
Firefighters worked to ensure there was no dangerous buildup of natural gas. Crews from National Grid quickly shut off gas to the building, which was already without electrical service. Other gas and electric customers in the area should still have service. Any resident without service is urged to contact National Grid immediately.
There is no evidence that debris ended up in the harbor, or that hazardous materials were released. The Gloucester Conservation Division is monitoring the situation to ensure there are no environmental impacts.
Building Inspector William Sanborn said it appears the collapse was caused by the buildup of water on a section of the roof, but that an investigation into the cause remains ongoing. He said the building at 80 Commercial St. is a total loss. An adjacent two-story structure at 88 Commercial St., was not damaged.
The building recently was purchased by a new owner, who will be responsible for having the remaining structure safely demolished and disposed of in accordance with all city and state regulations.
Traffic will be restricted on Commercial Street beginning today, and continuing until demolition is completed. Drivers are advised to avoid the area.