FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A fire erupted that just moments after the conclusion of a wedding ceremony Saturday evening at Lakeview Pavilion, the well-known event venue in Foxborough, was started by a cigarette, according to fire officials.
The fire broke out at around 7 p.m. Saturday, just as a justice of the peace pronounced a Swansea couple man and wife. As the couple turned around to face their guests, they noticed smoke coming from the reception room where their cocktail hour was set to begin shortly, the best man said.
Within a short time, the building was engulfed in flames. The three-alarm fire, which ripped through the building's roof, was still raging in parts of the building three hours later, with nearby towns helping Foxborough firefighters battle the blaze.
"The bride and groom were just devastated," said Jerry Cibley, the justice of the peace who married the couple. "Nobody knew what to do, because I think they just thought it would be a matter of a few minutes before they could go back in."
A cigarette tossed onto mulch caused the fire, which then spread to the building, Foxborough fire officials said. On Sunday, the building was in the process of being demolished.
All of the approximately 150 wedding guests and all Lakeview Pavilion staff members were able to get out of the building safely without injuries.
The building had no sprinkler system, the deputy fire chief told FOX 25. Because it is more than 100 years old, it was not required by law to have such a system installed. Working smoke alarms in the building went off and immediately alerted the fire department.
Late Saturday night, firefighters were still fighting the blaze from outside, because it was too dangerous to enter the structure. Investigators were expected to enter the building once it was safe, to determine a cause of the fire and estimate the damage caused.
Lakeview Pavilion staff did not say what would happen to future weddings and special events like proms that were scheduled to take place at the venue.
Many couples who had booked their weddings at the venue came out on Sunday to assess the damage, hoping it wasn't as bad as they had heard, only to find it was worse than they could imagine.
People who are looking for information on their wedding or event are encouraged to send an email to the Lakeview Pavilion event staff, as phone lines were down. A contact email address can be found at the venue's website.