A fire starts at International Auto Body shop in Wayland at 3:52 p.m. on Oct. 3.
A fire starts at International Auto Body shop in Wayland at 3:52 p.m. on Oct. 3.
Credit: Andry Nasief

Breaking News: Fire breaks out at International Auto Body shop

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Wayland’s International Auto Body shop caught on fire at 3:52 p.m.. Multiple 911 calls alerted the Wayland Fire Department (WFD) to the four-alarm fire.

Upon their arrival, the WFD found heavy smoke coming from the back of the building and decided to take a defensive stance, meaning the firefighters worked to extinguish the fire from outside of the building, due to multiple explosions within the auto shop. The firefighters also had to be cautious of sparking utility lines near the burning building. Around 4:30 p.m. the front of the building collapsed from the extreme heat. However, everyone made it out of the building safely.

“There were a lot of explosions upon arrival because of the fire and what you keep in an auto body shop, like chemicals, so we could not go inside [the auto shop],” Wayland Fire Department Chief Neil McPherson said.

After examining the severity of the fire, the WFD struck a fourth alarm to call in additional support from neighboring fire departments due to the substantial overhaul required. Firefighters from Concord, Weston, Framingham, Sherborn, Sudbury, Lincoln and Marlborough assisted the WFD in extinguishing the fire, while firefighters from Ashland, Hudson and Wellesley provided coverage at Wayland fire stations. The Brewster Ambulance was also present to provide medical assistance. One firefighter suffered a minor leg injury while fighting the fire.

By around 7 p.m., the firefighters brought the fire under control. According to McPherson, the two businesses near the auto shop, Wayland Town Cleaners and Liberty Pizza, appear to have been protected by firewalls between the buildings.

“At this stage [around 7 p.m.], there is no visible flame, but I bet we’ll be here most of the night,” McPherson said. “We’re going to keep somebody here tonight in case [the fire] rekindles. Sometimes with these fires, the flames rekindle when the investigation is ongoing.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the WFD, Massachusetts State Police and District 14 investigators. However, the fire is confirmed by Chief McPherson to have started at International Auto Body.

A GoFundMe page was created by Wayland resident Alexandra Adelman Ryan to raise money for the owner of the auto shop, Joe Sorrenti, and the damage created by the fire. There is also a GoFundMe page created by seventh grader John Melander to raise money for the smoke damage at Liberty Pizza of Cochituate.

“[The fire] is the saddest and scariest thing my eyes have had to watch,” Ryan wrote on the auto shop’s GoFundMe page. “I’m hoping we can come together as a community and help [Sorrenti] get back to doing what he does best.”

This article is a developing story that is subject to updates.

 

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    Wayland residentOct 5, 2023 at 10:41 PM

    Excellent reporting of local news! Keep it up.

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