On September 11, 2023, at approximately 6:23AM, the Wellfleet Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire at 70 Main Street, Wellfleet. The location of this address is also known as the Copper Swan and Fox and Crow Cafe. The fire was reported by an occupant of the building who heard smoke detectors sounding with smoke in the building. A line response was immediately dispatched to bring an Eastham and Truro engine to the scene.
First responding fire personnel arrived on the scene at 6:29 AM and found heavy smoke coming from a three story mixed occupancy type building. Wellfleet Engine 94 reported all known occupants were out of the building and stretched a pre-connected hose line into the building to the basement finding fire at the level. Three other pre-connected hose lines were stretched into the building with two of them to the second floor (residential) space of the building.
The involved building contains a restaurant on one side (main level) and cocktail lounge on the other side (walk out basement level) as well as residential space (ten bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) on the second level. Fire crews found fire at the basement, residential and attic spaces to half of the building. A working fire and subsequent second alarm was transmitted by Fire Chief Richard Pauley at this time bringing in mutual aid from the Orleans, Chatham, Brewster, Harwich, Dennis and Yarmouth Fire Departments. Fire crews spent over two (2) hours with an aggressive interior attack of the fire on all three levels of the building as the fire was fought from the basement level to the attic level. The fire was declared under control at approximately 9:15 AM with crews remaining on the scene until about 1:00 PM searching for hot spots and overhauling. Two (2) firefighters were injured and transported to Cape Cod Hospital with both being released later in the day.
The direct fire damage was confined to the Copper Swan side of the building with the Fox and Crow side of the building receiving light smoke damage. The building itself consists of two separate buildings, both over 200 years old that were joined together in the early 1900's. As such, construction is balloon frame with several stairs, interior levels, narrow corridors etc., and very complex in terms of accessibility. The State Fire Marshal's Office was requested to the scene and determined that the fire most likely started on the second floor (residential area) with cause to be undetermined but not suspicious in nature at this time. Estimated damage to the building is approximately $300,000.00.
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Chief Richard J. Pauley, Jr.