Resilient Mattapoisett Boatyard Fire Victim Phil Macomber Returns to Work
Phil Macomber sat in a chair Wednesday afternoon chipping away at the rot on the stern of a boat. The plan was to repair the boat with fiberglass. Normally, this would be just like any other day on the job at the Mattapoisett Boatyard for Phil, but today it was special.
It was the first day Phil returned to work at the boatyard since he was injured in a devastating August 19 fire. The biggest fire in Mattapoisett history destroyed all seven of the boatyard's waterfront buildings, more than 40 cars and 17 boats.
"I've been waiting for this. I've been going crazy doing nothing," Macomber said.
He admits that there was a time early after the fire when he wasn't sure if he'd ever be able to work again.
"It was a lot of sitting around. I couldn't move at first, then I had physical therapy and a whole lot of doctors' visits. I started getting around a little bit, moving a little more every day. And now I'm back!"
On that fateful day last summer, Macomber was working on a boat's gas tank inside a shed on the boatyard's Ned's Point property. Investigators believe gas vapors ignited after a spark caused an explosion that threw Macomber through the air and onto the ground.
Along with a number of other injuries, Macomber's thigh bone was shattered. As the shed was engulfed in flames and thick smoke, four of his co-workers ran inside and dragged Macomber out, saving his life.
He said he tries not to think of that day.
"It's tough," he said. "I'm still dealing with it."
Macomber reiterated how grateful he was for the love and support he and his family got from the Mattapoisett community and the SouthCoast at large.
"It's my first day back here. I really hope I can just keep on going and I don't start going the other way. But so far, so good today. I've been here all day. It was great to get off the couch and have something to do."