Norwood Civic Association

The cause of the fire which destroyed the Norwood Civic Association building on April 21 was overloaded defective electric wiring, says State Fire Marshal John W. Reth in his report given yesterday at the State House. “Nowhere is there a scintilla of evidence denoting incendiaries he declares.

Calling attention to “an extraordinary lack of proper inspection,” Marshal Reth states: “If this work had been regularly inspected before new and repair work and the full standard of the electrical code adhered to, the fire would not have resulted.”

The report says, in part:

“Every available source of Investigation was followed through to the end. Every known clue or suggestion was followed, and nowhere is there a scintilla of evidence denoting incendiarism. The cause of the fire is overloaded, defective electric wiring.

“There is evidence that there were no permits ever issued by the wiring inspector of the town of Norwood for any repair work, and there was no evidence of a permit issued for the wiring of this building. Conclusive evidence is produced that there was no main switch where the feed wires enter the building. The main panel board located in the center of the building shows in it a collection of tin cans, bottles, coat hooks and similar metallic objects that should not have been there.

“The power mains where they come Into the main panel board were pulled tightly against two T and B bushings, causing a short circuit and the cause of the fire. This short circuit could have been caused either by an overload or vibration of the building, or someone jarring the main panel board in the condition it was.

“The main lighting feeds were overloaded some 2 1/2 ties their carrying capacity. Branch circuits were fused up to 30 amperes. Light wires feeding the stage panel were overloaded. Main power switch was arranged so in the panel board that when opened it rested on the power meter. The whole layout from the transformer on the pole outside the building to the branch circuits and the sub-circuits on the stage and in the basement shows an extraordinary lack of proper inspection and the rudiments of electric engineering.”

Fri, Jun 13, 1930 – 22 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) ·