Generation 9

The New England Casket Co. has been a fixture of the East Boston neighborhood for 77 years.

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The third-generation, family-run business was gutted by a nine-alarm fire Friday night. Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn said the building is a total loss, suffering millions of dollars in damage.

Owners Lou Tobia Sr., 86, and his son, Lou Tobia Jr., said the casket manufacturing company was started by someone very familiar.

"My grandfather started the company," Tobia Jr. said.

Tobia Sr. said his father, an Italian immigrant, first arrived in the United States in New York at the age of 19.

"(He) had 18 bucks in his pocket, and the cab driver took all 18 bucks to go three blocks, because he did not know what the value of a dollar was in those days," Tobia Sr. said.

His father worked for a casket company on Long Island for three years before moving to Boston to start his own company. The business started in a small building on Elbow Street in East Boston before moving to 1141 Bennington St.

The father-and-son pair now must find a new building in which to set up shop, one that is approximately 100,000 to 150,000 square feet.

The company employs approximately 100 people, who have suddenly been put out of work.

"(They) are like family," Tobia Jr. said. "I love all my employees. I just feel awful right now. We don't know what to do. This is all new to us, so we're going to figure it out."

"It's heartbreaking, but you know, you can't bury your head in the sand. You have to deal with it," Tobia Sr. said.

READ MORE: > Third-generation family business destroyed by 9-alarm fire

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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/third-generation-family-business-destroyed-by-9-alarm-fire/ar-BBURMjV

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