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After hours of battling back flames, firefighters appear to have knocked down a stubborn 8-alarm fire in Natick that began overnight Monday and damaged several local businesses in the city's commercial district.
The fire at 7 South Main St. severely damaged all eight of the small businesses located at that address, officials said. Natick Fire Chief Michael Lentini told reporters at an early evening press conference that while investigators say the cause of the fire is still "undetermined," arson or other such suspicious activities have been ruled out.
It's believed the fire likely started inside a Chinese food restaurant in the building, Lentini said.
Three firefighters — two from area departments and a Natick fireman who cut his hand — suffered minor injuries, Lentini said. No civilians were injured.
Fire officials said earlier that the fire, which broke out before 2 a.m., was "manpower intensive" for crews battling it.
As of 5 p.m., firefighters were still overturning rubble from the building to make sure that "hot spots" related to the blaze were under control. Earlier, the Natick building commissioner had determined at the scene that the building complex would need to be demolished to fully extinguish the fire.
Fire officials said earlier that weather conditions, in particular the heat, made combating the fire more of a challenge. The tough conditions also pushed them to repeatedly strike additional alarms for the blaze.
The majority of the roadways that were closed off to the public to make space for the firefighters and demolition crews will open around 6 p.m., Natick Police Lieutenant Cara Rossi said at the press conference.
Lentini added that it will take "quite a bit of time" to put a price on the full extent of the damages.
Fire officials said work on the building will likely continue through the evening and into Tuesday.
Correction: An earlier version of this post attributed statements made by Natick Fire Chief Michael Lentini to the city's acting fire chief. The post has been updated. We regret the error.
This article was originally published on July 22, 2019.
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