A cigarette butt that fell through a hole in the sidewalk in front of 140 Boylston St. caused a small fire Wednesday, Oct. 2 according to Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. The Emerson Police Department sent three emails updating the community on the situation.
At 2:07 p.m., city firefighters responded to the fire, breaking the sidewalk to extinguish it, said MacDonald.
“[The fire] took about five minutes to put out,” he said.
According to MacDonald, this sidewalk—like others in downtown Boston—is hollow underneath and supported by wood beams. A segment of the wood caught fire from the cigarette butt, he said.
John Mullaney, the supervisor of the highway construction division for the city’s Department of Public Works, was present at the site of the damage after responding to a 2:37 p.m. call from the fire department. The call notified the Department of Public Works of the need to repair the damaged location.
Mullaney explained that portion of the sidewalk is hollow because it used to be a coal chute— where coal was dropped into the basement—for the building’s heating system.
The structure, where the restaurant Troquet is located, suffered minor damages, according to Mullaney.
For two hours, workers from the construction division of the Department of Public Works laid asphalt and a steel metal plate as a temporary repair to the hole, said Mullaney.
The owner of the 140 Boylston St. property is now responsible for making permanent repairs to the sidewalk, said Mullaney.