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9-alarm fire at Boston casket company prompts evacuations, subway closure

BOSTON— A powerful blaze at a casket company in Boston has forced the evacuation of residents and impacted subway service.

Fire department officials say the fire at the New England Casket Company in the East Boston neighborhood was reported at about 3 p.m. Friday.

Thick, black smoke and flames could be seen pouring out of the building and its roof hours later. Fire officials say as many as 100 firefighters from Boston and neighboring Chelsea attacked the blaze from multiple angles.

Some area residents were evacuated to a nearby school because of the heavy smoke.

The regional transit system also reported that the Blue Line subway was suspended between the Orient Heights and Wonderland stops with shuttle buses replacing train service.

Firefighters battled the core of the fire for seven hours, and were chasing hot spots well into the night. About 11 p.m., Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said residents could return to their homes.

Five people were sent to local hospitals with minor injuries, according to Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn. One police officer who was helping to evacuate residents was treated for smoke inhalation.

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