ROCKLAND — A tenant using a propane-fueled torch late at night to burn weeds along the side of a downtown building caused a fire the fire chief said could have been more serious Wednesday, June 22.

“This was a close one. If the fire alarm wouldn’t have gone off plus a passerby calling 9-1-1, this is how sprinklered buildings burn,” Chief Chris Whytock said. “All it takes is fire within the walls from an outside fire and we would have had a whole different story with a much worse outcome.”

The fire was reported at about 1:30 a.m.

Whytock said a tenant was burning weeds on the outside of the building along the sidewalk and unknowingly caught the trim and plywood around an old window on fire. The tenant then went back inside and the fire was not detected until the passerby noticed the fire.

The original call was the fire was at Cafe Miranda but it was the 328 Main St. building where street level businesses include Fog Bar & Cafe and Black Parrot. There are three residences on the top floor.

Smoke got into the basement from the fire and some smoke entered the upper floors which had windows open.