The apartment building at 1 Sandwich Road that went up in flames last week will be demolished.
Too much damage was done to the historic structure to salvage it, according to the property manager for the owner of the building.
“As of right now, the insurance company is leaning toward complete rebuild, based on the amount of damage,” Jared B. Chagnon of the W. Clark Trust in Falmouth said.
Flames broke out at the 194-year-old building May 28. Firefighters responded to a 911 emergency call they received at 8:12 PM.
Two Bourne police officers were the first on the scene. The two went in and helped evacuate a number of residents before being overcome by heavy smoke. Both were treated at the scene.
One occupant, a 65-year-old man, was taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham, where he was treated for smoke inhalation and subsequently released.
No one else was injured by the blaze.
Twelve people were living in the building at the time of the fire, although two were away on business.
On the night of the fire, the residents were evacuated safely, with two people being rescued by climbing down ladders.
The fire inside the structure, which is near the intersection of County, Shore and Trowbridge roads, quickly escalated to three alarms. Eight other fire departments on and near the Upper Cape responded to the scene, including Falmouth, Mashpee, Onset, Sandwich, Wareham, and West Barnstable.
Mr. Chagnon lamented the loss of the building, which is nearly two centuries old and which, he said, had a lot of historic value.
He described it as “a beautiful building” that was structurally well-built. The loss, he said, “is very unfortunate.”
“The last thing you want to see is a building like that, around this long, have to be demolished,” he said. “We would have loved to see that standing another 100 years.”
The structure was potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Town assessor records place the value of the building, which measures 5,012 square feet, at $533,400.
Massachusetts State Police assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Bourne Fire Department investigated the fire. The investigation showed that the fire began in the confined space between the ceiling and Unit 3 on the second floor. It quickly spread to the attic and resulted in a major collapse of the structure’s roof.
In a joint statement, State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Bourne Fire Chief Norman P. Sylvester said that the cause of the fire was “an unspecified electrical failure.” A spokesman for the Department of Fire Services said there was no evidence of arson, and reiterated the results of the investigation, citing old, outdated wiring in the building.
Mr. Chagnon, however, questioned the findings. He said there have been conflicting reports from other investigations done on the damage. He said he would not be surprised to hear that the final determination on a cause “went in a different direction.”
“No doubt that there’s some electrical event, but they’re unsure of the cause,” he said.
The joint statement on the investigation also gave a loss estimate of $800,000. Mr. Chagnon said that insurance adjusters are still reviewing the damage, so the exact amount remains uncertain.
Mr. Chagnon said the W. Clark Trust owns 15 apartment buildings in Falmouth and Bourne. He said that, unfortunately, there are no vacancies in any of the other buildings to accommodate the fire victims.
“If something was available, we’d do what we could,” he said. “We are working with the [Bourne] Housing Authority, and making phone calls to contacts we have to see if anything is available.”
Mr. Chagnon acknowledged that the fire left a lot of people in shock, with a lot of emotions. Ultimately, he said, it is fortunate that everyone inside the building made it out safely.
“Hopefully everyone gets back to normalcy soon,” he said.