Historic Suffolk Downs Racetrack Catches Fire in Boston

Adam WellsMay 31, 2022

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19: The sign for the shuttered Suffolk Downs horse racing track in Boston is pictured on Oct. 19, 2017. Suffolk Downs is the primary proposed site for Amazons new $5 billion second headquarters" in Boston'd bid for the project. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston caught fire Monday night. 

Per WCVB, Boston's local ABC affiliate, the six-alarm fire broke out around 10 p.m. ET on the roof of the grandstand. 

Suffolk Downs tweeted Tuesday morning that the fire was contained at the former press box on the grandstand roof and no one was injured. 

Suffolk Downs @SuffolkDowns

<a href="https://t.co/ET9QSUUijU">pic.twitter.com/ET9QSUUijU</a>

Boston Fire Department Commissioner Jack Dempsey told WCVB that the department had problems getting water to the roof because it was "very limited" at the site. 

"We had a lot of help to get lines running thousands of feet," Dempsey said. 

The Fire Department tweeted at 11:16 that everyone was ordered off the roof, and it was going to use the tower and ladder pipes to come at the fire from above. 

Boston Fire Dept. @BostonFire

All members have been ordered off of the roof.companies are using the Tower and multiple Ladder pipes to attack the fire from above. <a href="https://t.co/44P6VE6zeP">pic.twitter.com/44P6VE6zeP</a>

Boston Emergency Medical Services was also on scene.

Dempsey noted officials used a drone to "get a birds-eye view of the building" and use thermal imaging to determine which direction the fire was traveling to make it easier to put it out.

Suffolk Downs opened in 1935. The track held notable events, including the Commonwealth Stakes and Mayflower Stakes, during its first year of operating. 

The premier event at the track was the MassCap that was run annually from 1935 to 1989. The final MassCap was held in 2008.

Seabiscuit, Funny Cide and Cigar are among the notable horses that took part in races at Suffolk Downs. 

The track is currently being used for simulcasting races and as a betting facility. WCVB noted the site is being redeveloped into a mixed-use community featuring apartments, condominiums and commercial buildings.