‘You Can Hear Rafters Cracking’

The Chelsea Fire Department has closed Highland Street due to fear of a potential building collapse.

Deputy Chelsea Fire Department Chief John Quatieri told Boston.com that inspectors are concerned about the structural integrity of the Biltrite factory building.

Footage taken on Tuesday evening by a fire department inspector captured the eery noises made by a building struggling to stay upright despite several feet of snow atop its roof.

Quatieri said the inspector decided to take a video to document visible cracks in the rafters.

“Then he’s taking the video and you can hear rafters cracking,’’ Quatieri said. “At that point he ordered everyone out of the building.’’


Quatieri said there is new concern Wednesday that “one of the exterior walls may have shifted.’’

The building and abutting street remained closed as structural engineers determine the extent of the damage.

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