Seven-alarm fire demolishes abandoned factory

A seven-alarm fire in Rockland, Massachusetts, demolished an abandoned factory early Wednesday morning.

The fire, which was reported around 4:45 a.m., destroyed the building at 76 Park St. About 20 homes in the surrounding area were evacuated, and power was cut to homes within a block of the fire. By 9 a.m., firefighters and other emergency crews were still on scene.

“We are going to be here for hours,” Wareham Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Haskell said.

While Wareham was not one of the responding fire departments, Haskell was there on behalf of the state’s Department of Fire Service Hazardous Materials Response Team District 1.

“It was huge,” nearby resident Julie Doyle said. “There were explosions and everything.”

Doyle said the factory had been abandoned for years, and that she was “surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”

Though the damages haven’t been totaled yet, Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said he was sure they would be significant, as the blaze also damaged nearby homes.

As of 9:45 a.m., no injuries or deaths had been reported, but Grenno said the crews had not gotten a chance to search inside the factory, as the firefighters were still putting out hot spots. 

Rockland Fire Chief Scott Duffey could not immediately be reached for comment.

(All content and photos © Carolyn Bick 2017)


It was cold. Really cold.

But that didn’t matter. They were there to mourn the murder of one of their own. To offer each other sukoon – relief, comfort after a deep tragedy.

No, he wasn’t from Boston. I don’t know if any of them knew him personally. But it doesn’t matter. Srinivas Khuchibhotla was Indian and alive, and now he’s Indian and dead, because a white man shot him, while yelling, ‘Get out of my country!’

Later, this man admitted he thought Srinivas and his companion (who escaped with his life) were Muslims.

Yesterday, a man in Florida burned down an Indian-owned store – again, because he wanted to ‘run the Arabs out of our country.’

By ‘our’, he didn’t actually mean everyone. He didn’t actually mean all the different people who live here. Who have family here. Who breathe the same air, and share the same sorrows and joys.


He meant white people. Specifically, white Christians.

The fact that the people who perpetrate these hate crimes have been targeting people whose skin contains more melanin than the average white person’s is frightening. It’s nothing new – this country was built on the literal backs and corpses of people of colour, after all, because someone white decided their version of a god made all non-white people ‘lesser’ than whites – but the escalation in violence should at the very least scare the living daylights out of all of us.

This is not normal. This should never be normal. This is evil and vicious and wrong.

Stay loud and resist.

Why are we still debating this?

Tonight, I photographed a fairly informal rally protesting President Donald Trump’s rescinding Title IX protections for transgendered individuals in schools. Even though it is a federal law, and still technically protects these children, the administration is effectively refusing to acknowledge their identities. In even more layman’s terms: if a student is harmed, because they use the bathroom or gendered facility that corresponds with their gender, the federal government doesn’t care. It will not protect these children. Instead, the administration is ‘leaving it up to the states’ to decide whether or not to honor the federal law.

But just because the government doesn’t value the lives of trans children does not mean they are supported by the majority. 

This is the body politic.

Using Format