I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Wakefield Fire Department for calendar year 2002.
EMERGENCY INCIDENT RESPONSE
During 2002, the Wakefield Fire Department responded to 2,702 emergency incidents. There were three serious fires during 2001 that required transmission of a multiple alarm and the response of mutual aid from our neighboring communities to extinguish. Three alarms were sounded on Box 18 on April 22nd for a three family house fire at 9-11-13 Cooper Street in Greenwood. This fire started on a front porch, and fueled by a propane gas grill tank, quickly engulfed the 2-½-story home, forcing a second floor tenant to jump from a window. Sadly, the 56 year old female succumbed to respiratory complications from severe smoke inhalation two weeks later, making this the second fatal fire in Wakefield in less than one year.
Just a week later, another fire severely damaged a machine shop business at 247B Water Street, requiring three alarms on Box 3212 to be sounded on Friday evening, April 27th. And, two alarms on Box 4251were needed to fight a fire caused by lightning that destroyed at single family home at 31 Hancock Road on Friday evening, August 3rd.
Other incidents that challenged the fire department during 2001 included structure fires on Plymouth Road (April 10th) and on Avon Street (April 25th). A high-pressure natural gas main rupture on North Avenue on Friday afternoon, May 4th, required the attention of both the police and fire departments to isolate the area by stopping traffic, commuter rail trains, and evacuating buildings in the immediate area until Keyspan officials were able to plug the leak. And a massive, 1-mile long brush fire burned in the Reedy Meadow area between Wakefield and Lynnfield on October 27th. Although the bulk of this fire was in Lynnfield, it did spread into the Edgewater Drive area and threatened several buildings in the Edgewater Office Park before being stopped by firefighters.
Weather had a huge effect on fire department operations during 2001. A heavy snowstorm hit the town during the period of March 5 - 7, 2001, dumping about two feet of snow. This storm caused a six-hour power outage, required extra manpower to be deployed, and an additional fire engine to be pressed into service at the DPW garage at the Forest Glade Cemetery off Lowell Street, in order to better protect this large section of town. On March 22nd - 25th, a heavy rainstorm with warming temperatures on top of our heavy snow cover created significant flooding problems throughout the town, keeping the department very busy.
The year 2001 will long be known as the year of lightning. Several severe storms passed through the town during the summer months, including a viscous storm on Saturday evening, June 30th, which caused significant damage in town, including a direct lightning strike to Police & Fire Headquarters that knocked out 911 phones, radio, and fire alarms.
As of December 31, 2001, the Wakefield Fire Department consisted of fifty (50) uniformed personnel, including the Fire Chief, five (5) Captains, including the Fire Prevention Officer, four (4) Lieutenants, forty (40) Firefighters, and a civilian Administrative Secretary.
Veteran Firefighter Arthur Dell’Arciprete retired from the department on May 2nd, 2001. We wish Firefighter Dell’Arciprete a healthy and happy retirement, and thank him for his twenty-nine years of service to the Town of Wakefield.
Michael Long and Brian Purcell were appointed Permanent Firefighters on October 18th, 2001. Firefighter Long was hired to fill the position created by Firefighter Dell’Arciprete’s retirement, and Firefighter Purcell to fill a retirement to occur in early 2002. Both men entered the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Program and will graduate on January 7, 2002.
On Friday evening, February 9th, 2001, a horrific wrong way - head on motor vehicle crash occurred on Route 128 in the Montrose section, trapping both drivers in their vehicles with severe injuries. Using two “Jaws of Life” hydraulic rescue tools from Ladder One and working closely with Paramedics, firefighters were able to simultaneously and safely extricate the victims and see them transported by helicopter ambulance to Boston hospitals for treatment. Because of their exemplary work at this incident, Captain David Lowry, Lieutenant David Myette, and Firefighters Al Uva, Phil Rogers, Sr., Joe Cardarelli, Dan Marsinelli, Bob Trant, Bill Carr, Lou Sardella, and Joe Albert received a group commendation from the Fire Chief.
APPARATUS & EQUIPMENT
On February 13th, 2001, the department received delivery of a new Seagrave 1250 GPM pumping engine, with a 750-gallon water tank and 30-gallon foam tank. After outfitting and training, this new pumper was placed into service as Engine 2 at the Greenwood station on May 3rd. The former Engine 2, a 1979 Mack pumper was traded in as part of this acquisition.
During 2000, the department continued to develop a Technical Rescue Team within our ranks. Thirteen (13) members of the department have signed on to serve, and have been and will continue to receive specialized training in high angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench and building collapse rescue procedures.
During 2001, the department continued to develop our Technical Rescue Team, and established an underwater rescue SCBA dive team. The Dive Rescue Team, headed by Lieutenant David Myette, consists of thirteen firefighters who have and continue to receive SCBA training. The goal of our Dive Rescue Team is to give us the ability to make aggressive search and rescue operations at water accidents in our many lakes and ponds.
To fund the establishment of our Dive Rescue Team, the department received $ 20,000 in gifts / donations, that were used to fund the equipment needed for the Team, as well as the training for the participating firefighters. In addition, Action Ambulance Service graciously donated a 1994 Ford ambulance, which will be converted into a Dive Rescue emergency response equipment truck during 2002.
All fire hoses, ladders, and self-contained breathing apparatus were inspected, tested, and serviced as necessary. The three (3) pump engines and the department’s aerial ladder truck were tested successfully. And during 2001, the department implemented Hydrant Assist Valves as our primary hydrant supply valve for firefighting operations.
The Wakefield Fire Department prides itself on the level of training that we provide to our members. In addition to our review of the our basic firefighting and rescue skills, the department conducted training with the department’s rescue boats, rescue tools, (Jaws of Life), and continued our ongoing program of pre-planning newly constructed or renovated buildings.
During 2001, the department participated in several specialized training programs, including, two courses provided to the department by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, Basic Ice Rescue and Structural Hazards. The entire department renewed certification as EMT’s/First Responders/CPR and Defibrillator in February / March.
The biggest training initiative during 2001 was an intensive Firefighter Safety and Survival training program, conducted in January and April. This five day program basically involved skills needed by firefighters to search for and rescue a firefighter lost in a burning building. Much of the emphasis for this type of specialized training came from the Worcester Cold Storage fire in December 1999 where six firefighters lost their lives searching a vacant warehouse for homeless people. The training program in Wakefield was conducted at Fire Headquarters on Crescent Street as well as the vacant Woodville School.
In the area of Technical Rescue, the Technical Rescue Team held two training drills during the year, one at the Container Corporation Plant on Audubon Road, which was a combined training session on confined space rescue with the Lynnfield Fire Department. And, the members of the newly formed SCBA Dive Rescue Team conducted training towards their certification, including several training dives in the area.
FIRE PREVENTION - FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION
Fire Prevention Officer Captain Michael J. Sullivan continues to spearhead an aggressive fire prevention and fire safety education program in Wakefield. The department again received a state Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) Grant in the amount of $ 4,745.50, and a Federal FIRE ACT Grant in the amount of $ 4,950.00. These grants serve as the foundation for our very aggressive fire safety education program, where firefighters visit each school, public and private, with the Metrofire Fire Safety Trailer. This trailer allows children to actually see and practice fire safety - lifesaving skills. In addition, Captain Sullivan continues to bring outside agencies, such as the Shriners Burn Institute and Essex Agricultural Institute to Wakefield to provide burn prevention and water safety programs to our children.
All commercial and industrial properties in town were inspected at least once during the year, and all schools, nursing homes, and hotels - lodging houses were inspected quarterly, all by the on-duty firefighting shift on an in-service, ready to respond basis. Several fire emergency evacuation drills were also conducted in each school facility. The department also worked closely with the School Department Crisis Team in crafting and practicing school evacuation plans, where the entire population of a school must be evacuated and then moved to an alternative location.
Wakefield features a number of public events during the year, and the fire department participated with fire prevention informational booths and the fire safety trailer at the Homecoming in September and the Common Ground event in August.
Any discussion of the year 2001 must include the horrific events that occurred on September 11th. The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City alone cost the lives of thousands of innocent people, including 343 members of the New York City Fire Department. It is a tragedy that has, and continues to effect firefighters around the world. Proudly, on several occasions, off duty Wakefield Firefighters and retired Firefighters have traveled to New York City to attend the funerals / memorial services for the lost brother firefighters.
On a brighter note, the November 5th Town Meeting approved an appropriation of 10.3 million dollars to construct the long awaited and badly needed Public Safety Building Complex. The combined Police and Fire Headquarters will be constructed on the present site bordering Crescent, Centre, Union, and Princess Streets, and will require demolition of the current 101-year-old fire headquarters and substantial demolition of the 51-year-old Police station. This project will be the main concentration of the fire department in 2002, and inn 2003 as we look forward to a fall, 2003 occupancy date. As of December 31, 2001, we are busy planning our move to temporary quarters, fire apparatus and firefighters to the DPW facility on North Avenue, and Fire Administration to the Montrose School, which should take place in March - April of 2002.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the members of the Wakefield Fire Department, the Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department, the Wakefield Police Department, all other town boards, committees, departments, and the citizens of Wakefield for their continued support and assistance.
Chief David L. Parr
Wakefield Fire Department
BOX ALARMS = 552
Medical emergency / motor vehicle accident responses = 1,635
Alarm malfunctions / accidental alarms investigations = 365
Public assistance / public service responses = 138
Investigations of hazards, gas & smoke odors = 133
Mutual aid responses to other communities = 67
Water hazard emergency responses = 135
Appliance fires / emergencies / food on stove = 108
Heating system emergency responses = 46
Electrical fires / emergency responses = 74
Hazardous materials incident responses = 39
Carbon Monoxide detector investigations = 34
Structure / Building fires = 38
Brush & grass fires = 43
Motor vehicle fires = 21
Rubbish & dumpster fires = 16
Malicious false alarms = 10
Rescue responses (water rescue, elevator rescue) = 11
Mutual aid assistance received by Wakefield during 2001 = 45 times
MULTIPLE ALARM FIRES - 2001
3 Alarms Box 18 - 9-11-13 Cooper Street - 3:59 AM - April 22nd, 2001
3 Alarms Box 3212 - 247B Water Street - 8:16 PM- April 27th, 2001
2 Alarms Box 4251 - 31 Hancock Road - 4:44 PM - August 3rd, 2001
EQUIPMENT USED - 2001
1 ½” Hose = 11,100 feet
1 ¾” Hose = 6,950 feet
2 ½” Hose = 1,100 feet
4” Hose = 3,850 feet
Ladders = 1,396 feet
Air Masks Used = 104 times
Salvage Covers Used = 16 times
Smoke Ejectors Used = 44 times
Fire Extinguishers Used = 13 times
APPARATUS RESPONSES FOR 2001
|Engine 1 - 1996 Seagrave Pumper||409||1,478||1,887|
|Engine 2 - 2000 Seagrave Pumper||467||443||910|
|Engine 4 - 1986 Mack/Pirsch Pumper (Reserve)||2||6||10|
|Ladder 1 - 1995 Seagrave 100’ Aerial||416||370||786|
|Car 6 - 1998 Chevrolet Utility Truck||52||248||300|
Car 1 - 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Utility Vehicle - Assigned to the Fire Chief
Car 2 - 1994 Chevrolet Blazer 4WD Utility Vehicle - Assigned to Fire Prevention
Dive Rescue - 1994 Ford E-350 Van
Marine Unit(s) - 1980 13’ Boston Whaler & 1995 10’ Avon Rubber Rescue Boat
Technical Rescue Trailer - 2000 Car Mate 18’ Cargo Trailer
Haz Mat Trailer - 1984 Parkhurst / Military Trailer
FIRE PREVENTION REPORT FOR 2001
Smoke Detector Certificates Issued = 391
Oil Burner Permits Issued = 152
Oil Storage Permitted (Gallons) = 42,575
Propane Gas Storage Permits Issued = 24
Flammable Liquid Storage Permits Issued = 0
Sprinkler System Inspection,Test, Service Permits Issued = 91
Fire Alarm System Inspection, Test, Service Permits Issued = 213
Blasting Permits Issue = 8
Underground Fuel Tank Removal Permits Issued = 20
Cutting / Welding / Torch Permits Issued = 2
New Fire Protection System Installation Permits Issued = 88
Fuel Delivery Tank Trucks Inspected & Permitted = 0
Open Air Burning Permits Issued (Jan. - May)
= 361 In Service Fire Prevention Inspections Conducted
= 514 Quarterly Inspections Conducted
= 104 (Schools, Hotels/Lodging Houses, Nursing Homes)
REPORT OF THE FOREST WARDEN - 2001
During 2001, the Wakefield Fire department responded to and extinguished to 41 grass and brush fires. In addition, the fire department issued 361 open-air burning permits as per state regulations during the January 15 - May 1st open air burning season.
Chief David L. Parr
Wakefield Fire Department
REPORT OF THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR - 2001
The Emergency Management Agency prepares for natural and manmade disasters, serving as the local branch of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met twice during the year 2001. The committee, consisting of most public safety / public service department heads as well as school officials, met following the events of September 11th to discuss Wakefield’s preparedness for potential acts of terrorism, particularly our utilities
During 2001, the department worked closely with state Emergency Management (MEMA) officials to update and upgrade Wakefield’s Comprehensive Emergency Management (CEM) Plan. The revised plan was received in September, reviewed and distributed to town departments.
The biggest initiative accomplished by Emergency Management during 2001 was Wakefield’s subscription to the Community Alert Network of Albany, NY. This service, approved by the 2001 April Town Meeting, provides Wakefield with a high speed computerized telephone notification system, that will allow town officials to notify residents and businesses in the entire town or in selected sections of town of an emergency situation and how they should react to it. This is a valuable resource in the town’s emergency management capabilities that we hope that we never have to utilize.
The Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department operates under the auspices of Emergency Management. During 2000, Auxiliary Captain Russell Barr, Auxiliary Lieutenant Richard Harrington, and Auxiliary Firefighters Lori Cole, Al Catanzaro, Kathy O’Brien, and Matthew Harrington donated 1,165 hours of volunteer service to the community. This includes regular weekly training sessions, response to multiple alarm fires and other emergencies, and stand by at various public events throughout the year. Auxiliary Firefighter Leon Borowicz left the department in 2001, because of a move out of state. We thank Leon for his volunteer service over the years and wish him and his family the best in the future. David Ball was appointed an Auxiliary Firefighter 2001.
The Auxiliary Fire Department Squad Truck is a 1971 Mack chassis with a 1956 rescue style body, that we use primarily as our lighting - emergency power unit. We continue to monitor the condition of this vehicle, and feel that at some point in the near future, we will need to replace or make significant repairs to this truck.
My sincere thanks to all department heads and their supervisors for their continued cooperation and assistance in serving on the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and to the volunteer members of the Auxiliary Fire Department for their service during 2001.
Chief David L. Parr
Emergency Management Director