Fire Marshal says incendiary was cause of fire that destroyed vacant Brookline house; investigation continuing

Brookline police released this photo of the fire at 71 Spooner Road on Friday.
Brookline police released this photo of the fire at 71 Spooner Road on Friday.
Brookline police

Authorities believe an incendiary was used to start a fire that destroyed a Chestnut Hill home vacant since it was built in 2005 because of years of litigation, according to the fire officials and public records.

The fire broke out at 71 Spooner Rd. around 9 p.m. Friday and grew into a three-alarm fire before it was brought under control by Brookline firefighters with help from the Boston, Newton, and Cambridge fire departments, officials said.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said in an e-mail that the cause of the fire was an “incendiary,’’ but he declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation by State Police assigned to his office and with Brookline police.

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The house has an assessed value of $830,000 and has been the subject of litigation for years.

It was partially constructed in 2005, but was left unfinished after town officials ruled it violated town zoning bylaws, according to town records.

The condition of the property deteriorated so badly during recent years that the Brookline Preservation Commission approved demolition.

“The structure does not contribute to the character” of Chestnut Hill’s historic district, preservation officials said in a report.

“It is neither architecturally nor historically significant and may be removed, demolished or relocated outside of the district.”

Firefighters worked until about 7 a.m. Saturday to put out the fire and investigate the scene, according to a spokesman for the Brookline Fire Department.

The blaze gutted the building, officials said.