A three-alarm fire broke out Tuesday evening in the barn area at Suffolk Downs racetrack in Revere. Fire crews from all over the area rushed to the scene to put out the red-hot, smoke-belching blaze. Flames were readily apparent and smoke could be seen towering from the area for miles. Chelsea Engine 3 and Ladder 2 responded directly to the fire when Revere Fire struck a second alarm. Both of the Chelsea companies helped contain the fire for about three hours from the rear of the site. Chelsea firefighters played a key role in making sure the fire didn’t spread to the adjacent stables – where horses had been housed in preparation for the May 3 Derby Day/Opening Day. One Chelsea firefighter was injured and transported to the Whidden Hospital – possibly suffering a fractured elbow.
The fire broke out just after 5 p.m. and was contained by 8:30 p.m. It apparently started in the kitchen of the commissary building where jockeys and support staff often eat. That building was burnt to oblivion, but the horses and stable barns were preserved. Representatives from Suffolk Downs said they do not plan on canceling the May 3 festivities, and they were grateful to Revere, Chelsea and other departments that helped contain the mammoth blaze to only one building. Most agreed the situation could have been far worse in terms of damage.
The area is directly on the spot where Mohegan Sun has proposed to build a casino and entertainment complex – drawing even more attention to the fire.