HomeTragedyFire Burns Optimistic Future for Formerly Condemned House

Fire Burns Optimistic Future for Formerly Condemned House


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Chuck DiDonato stared at the remains of the multi-family house he manages in disbelief. But there was no denying the extensive damage fire had caused just two nights earlier on April 19. The house had been undergoing renovations, according to a notice distributed by Westford Fire Lt. Don Parsons.

The house at 472 Groton Road sustained a damaging fire on April 17. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

At around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, a neighborhood observer reported that flames were shooting out of a second-floor window in the three-story house located at 472 Groton Road.

The fire at 472 Groton Road was damaged by a fire on April 17. Water still filled the basement on April 19. COURTESY PHOTO

DiDonato indicated the renovations of the house were close to being completed.

“I was one week away from being able to rent it,” he said as his sister, Joanne DiDonato- Ragwar stood nearby.

“I grew up in this house,” she said.

Chuck DiDonato, landlord for 472 Groton Road inspects the damage done from a fire on April 19, 2020. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

The house and DiDonato have a history. In January 2018 the Board of Health condemned the three-family building after receiving letters from the renters that the house had had no running water since December 2017, and two of the units had no heat during a string of January days when the temperature dipped below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

“There are a lot of memories here,” said DiDonato-Ragwar.