NEW BEDFORD—New Bedford Firefighters have been battling a major fire at 169 Mount Vernon Street throughout Sunday afternoon.

The site is the former location of ServePro, but New Bedford Fire Chief Michael Gomes told WBSM News it is currently some sort of operation that involves the storage of portable toilets.

Gomes said the fire is still under investigation and a cause has yet to be determined, but it appears the fire started outside the building, where a series of portable toilets were stacked up alongside the building.

“They burned readily, because they’re fiberglass,” Gomes said.

The call came it just before 2 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the fire was already semi-involved with a heavy body of fire on the west side of the building, extending into the building.

“Due to the advanced stage of the fire, we went with a defensive operation,” Gomes said.

Firefighters kept the fire from extending into the two buildings on either side of the location. The building on the west side did suffer some fire damage.

Mutual aid arrived from Dartmouth, Acushnet, Fairhaven and Mattapoisett.

“We did have some water pressure problems, which also didn’t help,” Gomes said. “We had to have extra manpower due to the water in that area not having the greatest of flows.”

There are no injuries reported at this time, and the building has been deemed unsafe to enter. Gomes said there are still about four crews on the scene, putting out additional hot spots. He said the building had multiple layers of roofing, which has made full extinguishment very difficult. Crews will also remain on the scene throughout the night to watch out for additional hot spots.

Roads were closed down in all four directions. Gomes was not sure when they would re-open.

The smoke from the fire extended over to Route 195, with several motorists reporting on social media that thick smoke caused some visibility issues.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

See more videos from the fire on the WBSM Facebook page.

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