Easton Fire Chief Kevin Partridge said in a statement Tuesday night that the fire that set the former Carriage House restaurant ablaze was intentionally set.
Partridge made the statement after an investigation conducted by himself, the State Fire Marshal and Easton Fire Captain Jeff Webster.
"After a survey of the fire building and questioning of the initial caller, first in fire crews and the owners, the investigative team determined the fire to have been intentionally set," Partridge said. "The building did not have any electricity or natural gas service, both had been shut down numerous years ago."
Partridge said the building at 304 Turnpike Street was owned by Thomas DeCouto and Mark Perron of D&P Real Estate Management Corp. Both men are Easton residents and have owned the building since 1997. DeCouto and Perron told Partridge that the building was not insured for fire damage, but they carry liability insurance on the property.
The investigation began after the fire had been put out at approximately 5:30 a.m. Easton crews arrived on the scene an hour and a half earlier, at 3 a.m.
Firefighters fought in a "defensive mode" and did not send anyone into the building, Partridge said. Crews were unsure as to the amount of time the fire had been burning and made the decision not to put anyone into the unsafe structure - which had been unoccupied for approximately 10 years.
Partridge said assistance was provided by Norton, West Bridgewater, Bridgewater, Raynham, and Stoughton fire departments, and Sharon Fire provided coverage at Easton Station #1. A Brockton AMR Ambulance provided EMS standby at the fire. The Department of Fire Service REHAB unit responded to the scene as well as the Providence Canteen, to provide fluids and rehab to the firefighters who fought the fire for several hours.
An Easton Engine remaining on scene most of the day wetting down burning debris as an excavator cleared the roof off the top of the pile (video attached).