GROTON - Fire officials are investigating the cause of a fire early Sunday morning that destroyed a slaughterhouse at the Blood Farm, a business that dates as far back as 1724.
The building on West Main Street is a total loss, Fire Chief Joseph Bosselait said.
Firefighters determined the fire started in a room where meats are smoked, Bosselait said. The fire was noticed by passerby, who called authorities just after 2 a.m.
"It's a big loss for the town," the chief said.
The four-alarm fire brought crews to the scene from Ayer, Lunenburg, Pepperell and Townsend. Firefighters from Dunstable, Littleton and Shirley staffed the Groton fire stations while Groton firefighters were at the scene.
A police officer at the scene late Sunday morning said the Blood family, which has run the business for five generations, asked that the public be kept away from the property. No one answered the phone listed for the farm.
Connie Sartini, the Groton town diarist, said the Blood family has been actively involved in the business for generation after generation. Though the Blood Farm does very little advertising, she said, it has become well known across the area for both farms who bring cattle there for slaughter, and for restaurants and individuals who purchase meat there.
"It's always been a centerpiece of West Groton," Sartini said.
Town history books date the Blood family purchase of the property to 1724, she said. At least one house on the property dates to 1780.