Former special needs school destroyed by fire

Officials are investigating a fire at what was once a Taunton school for children with special needs and a local business.

The building was destroyed, consumed by flames in a matter of hours.

No one was living in the building at the time of the fire. And investigators are now trying to determine if the fire was set.

The first call came in at about 11 a.m. for a fire at 1498 Bay Street. Taunton called mutual aid and eventually put out the flames.

The building was home to the Paul A. Dever state school and educated Massachusetts residents with special needs.

This has been the site for several arsons before. "There are a few homes actually which are occupied but it's not ever; it's independent," said Taunton resident Gloria Burke.

"That building has been here as long as I know, I started working here in 1980 and it was old then and it was closed when I worked here."

Burke said as far as she knows it's been vacant for at least 25 years.

The fire hit two alarms and four towns were called in to help.