The Mashpee Fire Rescue Department responded to a call before 2 PM Friday, April 23, for a brush fire that led to a fire in a vacant building on Collins Road off Great Neck Road North.
On arrival, firefighters found a brush fire burning "on all four sides" and then discovered that a vacant, boarded-up building was also on fire, burning from the basement up, Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo said at the scene.
The fire was headed toward both the Mashpee Baptist Church on one side and, when the wind shifted, the next house up on Great Neck Road North, Chief Rullo said.
"The house was all boarded-up; the back wall had already collapsed, and the power lines going to the house were initially live," he said. "We can’t safely fight the structure fire when it might collapse."
Chief Rullo said the department is "ruling out a naturally burning fire, which is why the State Fire Marshal’s office is here."
A brush breaker was stationed in the church parking lot to pump water and keep the fire away from the church building.
Chief Rullo said the first priority was to protect the church. He noted that it has mulch around it that can go up in flames very quickly.
The chief said he decided to let the house burn while waiting for an excavator, which would tear the structure down as it was burning.
On scene were firefighters from Cotuit, Joint Base Cape Cod, Sandwich, Falmouth, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Department of Conservation and Recreation's district chief.