Dorchester Illustration no. 2343 Fire at Frost Coal
On April 23, 1944, a fire broke out at the Frost Coal Company, located in Neponset on the Neponset River edge, between the traffic bridge and the railroad bridge. The location is down behind the Sozio appliance store and Planet Fitness. The company was established at this location in 1869 by George E. Frost, who died in 1920. He had a house built at 2 Frost Avenue, the corner of Frost Avenue and Boutwell Street, that later became a club house for the Redberry Council and Knights of Columbus.
The Dorchester Historical Society has a series nine photographs of the fire, but the illustration shown today comes from the Boston Fire Historical Society’s website. It has the most encompassing view of the area.
The 1933 atlas shows that the structures were wood-frame. The Boston Globe reported that a five-alarm fire caused damage estimated at $300,000 to the coal company and an adjacent shipyard. More than 20 families were force out of their nearby homes. Thomas H. Kelley of Florida Street, one of the crew of 300 men fighting the fire, was injured, suffering lacerations to his right arm. Several wooden storage buildings containing 2000 tons of anthracite coal billowed up in 1000-foot high clouds of smoke. The fire spread to the Lockery and Butts boathouse (Thomas Lockerly and Edward Butts), destroying about 225 pleasure cruisers, yachts and sailboats.