Home

Report of the Fire Department - 2018

I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Wakefield Fire Department for calendar year 2018. The department had a very busy year dealing with both emergencies and the construction boom taking place around town. The department also dealt with the largest fire it has faced in 46 years when the First Baptist Church caught fire and was completely destroyed in October of that year.

The Wakefield Fire Department continued to receive significant financial aid in the form of state and federal grants during 2018. This year federal grant funding for approximately $16,364 was used to purchase a set of air bags for lifting heavy objects as well as five hydraulic forcible entry tools. A federal grant application for $75,000 to be used to replace the department’s air compressor for its breathing apparatus refill system was submitted in the fall of 2018. A state grant has also been awarded for the purchase and installation of fiber optic cable as part of an upgrade to the department’s aging radio system. State funding pays for the training and response costs associated with the department’s participation in regional hazardous materials and technical rescue response teams.

The Town of Wakefield hired a dedicated Emergency Manager position in town which was formally handled by the Fire Chief. Thomas Walsh, a retired Deputy Chief from the Malden Fire Department was hired to take this position. I have tried to make this transition as smooth as possible for Tom. I am confident that I have served the town in my capacity as Emergency Manager to the best of my ability and look forward to concentrating my efforts on fire department activities including those that overlap into emergency management.

Wakefield has many construction projects underway underscoring the need for a strong Fire Prevention Bureau staffed with a full-time Fire Prevention Officer. The ability of the department to monitor these projects and follow up on fire safety and enforcement issues in the community has significantly improved since this position was re-instated in 2012. The volume of work being handled by the Fire Prevention Bureau has steadily increased over the past several years, and it is time to request funding for another full-time position to assist with this workload.

Emergency Incident Response

During 2018 the Wakefield Fire Department responded to 3,765 emergency incidents, including 3,341 Still Alarms and 424 Box Alarms. This represents a .8% increase over last year’s responses. Wakefield had no civilian fire deaths in 2018. The department responded to two fires in 2018 requiring a multiple-alarm response.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a reported structure fire at 7 Furness Circle during the afternoon of January 26. The fire was discovered by an occupant returning home from food shopping at 12:24 P.M. Firefighters arrived within three minutes to find a fire in the first floor kitchen of the residence that had created a dense smoke condition throughout the home. A second alarm was struck bringing firefighters from the Melrose, Reading, Stoneham and North Reading fire departments to the scene. The first arriving firefighters did an excellent job of knocking down the fire, confining it primarily to the kitchen area and adjoining concealed wall and ceiling spaces. Heavy smoke present in the home during the fire resulted in zero-visibility conditions, requiring fire fighters to break out numerous windows and to cut a hole in the roof to vent the building of smoke. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. The four occupants of the residence were displaced for an extended period of time. A total of four pets were rescued from the home, including two cats rescued by firefighters shortly after their arrival. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental possibly involving the failure of a kitchen appliance or kitchen wiring.

The most serious fire of 2018 occurred at the First Baptist Church at 8 Lafayette Street during the early evening of October 23. Shortly before 7 P.M. a weather front passed through the area, bringing with it severe thunderstorms and vivid lightning. Within minutes of this front passing through the area the Wakefield Fire Department received an automatic fire alarm and the Wakefield Police Department received 911 calls reporting smoke coming from the steeple of the First Baptist Church on Lafayette Street. Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco arrived at the church within one minute after dispatch to find light smoke as well as a small fire showing from the base of the steeple. Firefighters gained entry to the church and began to investigate the extent of the fire while an outside hose line was deployed on the visible fire in the steeple. Within a matter of a few seconds the small fire on the steeple started to extend both inside and up the exterior of the steeple. Captain Pronco immediately ordered a second and third alarm and began to deploy on-scene firefighters for an outside fire attack. Within a period of several minutes the fire had extended the entire height of the steeple and began to spread into the concealed space between the ceiling of the main church area and the roof of the building. This concealed space was cavernous and only accessible through the church steeple. It was approximately 25 to 30 feet high at the peak and unobstructed for the entire length of the church sanctuary. The fire extended through this space with astonishing speed, feeding on the 146-year-old wooden timbers and planking that supported the roof structure. Captain Pronco requested a fourth alarm as I arrived to assume overall command of the incident. The church roof completely collapsed in the next few minutes and the entire main church was soon fully involved in flames. The collapsing roof damaged the fire wall separating the rear of the church from the main sanctuary and the fire consequently extended into this area as well.

The intense radiant heat and large burning brands raining down from the church immediately threatened all the adjoining properties surrounding it. Wakefield’s Town Hall on Lafayette Street, a building on Main Street containing Artichoke’s restaurant as well as 8 condominium units, multi-family residences on Yale Avenue and Lafayette Street and the McDonald Funeral Home on Yale Avenue all started to emit steam as the rain water on the buildings from the recent storm heated up and evaporated. I sounded fifth, sixth and seventh alarms to bring enough fire apparatus to the scene to protect these properties and establish a sufficient water supply to control and extinguish the fire. Fire apparatus hooked up to hydrants on North Avenue and pumped water up Lafayette Street and Yale Avenue. Numerous hydrants were opened in downtown Wakefield on Main Street and across the common to obtain additional water. All this water was pumped up to the fire scene, an estimated five million gallons in all, to supply the many ladder trucks, fire engines and hose lines used to fight the fire. The effectiveness of the fire service mutual aid system was once again demonstrated, as some seven ladder and 20 engine companies from 21 area fire departments responded and worked efficiently to extinguish the fire. Fire apparatus responded from Burlington, Danvers, Everett, Lexington, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Melrose, Middleton, North Reading, Peabody, Reading, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Stoneham, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn. A Medford engine and ladder truck as well as a Massport (Logan Airport) engine covered Wakefield Fire Headquarters, responding to numerous emergencies during the fire.

A total of more than 120 firefighters battled the fire for more than 8 hours until the fire in the main church and attached rear section had subsided. Wakefield firefighters remained on scene for the next two days extinguishing hot spots until approximately 4 P.M. on October 25. Sadly, the church was completely destroyed with an estimated dollar loss of more than $5 million. A church community had lost its place of worship, the Tall Spire Nursery School had lost its home and numerous church and civic groups had lost their meeting space. All the surrounding exposed buildings were saved with only some melted siding and one cracked window to show for damage. Firefighters were aided in their efforts to save the adjoining properties by the virtual absence of any wind during the fire and the heavy rains that immediately proceeded it. Two Wakefield firefighters sustained minor injuries as a result of this fire. Both have returned to full duty.

The Wakefield Fire Department is grateful for all of the assistance that it received from other town departments in addition to the mutual aid fire departments. Wakefield Police Officers were joined by officers from its partner Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) communities who responded via mutual aid to handle the traffic flow around the incident and manage the thousands of spectators who watched the fire. The DPW supplied saw horses and barricades to close off the streets. Wakefield Water Department personnel activated the town’s water pumps at the Broadway Pumping Station located at Crystal Lake, supplying additional water for the fire and boosting the pressure in the water system. The Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department cut off utilities to the burning church creating a safer environment for firefighters to operate in. Wakefield Emergency Manager Thomas Walsh and Building Inspector Jack Roberto secured a crane service to dismantle what remained of the steeple and the church walls that presented a serious risk of collapse after the fire was extinguished. Tom Walsh also assisted the department in securing lighting units during the later stages of the fire. Wakefield Health Director Ruth Clay, Town Administrator Stephen Maio and numerous members of the Wakefield Town Council were also on hand to lend their support to the department.

The First Baptist Church fire was the largest fire occurring in Wakefield since the Robie Industrial Complex was destroyed in a conflagration on February 5, 1972. I am extremely proud of the personal courage and dedication shown by the members of the Wakefield Fire Department during this very significant fire, and I am grateful for the assistance the mutual aid fire departments and the local town officials who assisted the department during this incident.

There were several other significant fire incidents that occurred during 2018. Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a reported structure fire at 2-2A Newell Road in Wakefield during the afternoon of April 12. Firefighters arrived within several minutes to find a fire burning at the rear of the residence. Crews quickly extinguished the fire, confining it primarily to the rear wall and porch areas. There was minimal extension of fire into the two-family structure; however, the fire caused considerable smoke damage within both apartments. Power had to be disconnected from the building, resulting in the displacement of approximately ten occupants. The Red Cross was summoned to the scene to assist with these displaced occupants. The cause of the fire was determined to be the careless disposal of smoking materials next to the rear porch. One firefighter received a minor injury as a result of the fire. A Stoneham fire engine responded to the scene to assist firefighters while a Reading engine covered Wakefield fire headquarters.

Captain Brian Purcell led firefighters responding to a reported house fire at 125 Pleasant Street on the morning of April 27. On arrival, crews were met with heavy smoke and high heat conditions throughout the home. The resulting zero-visibility conditions made the fire difficult to locate at first. The fire was eventually located in the dining room on the first floor and extinguished. The home was not occupied during the fire as it was undergoing extensive renovations. The house was equipped with energy efficient windows and was heavily insulated, allowing it to hold in the heat of the fire and drop the smoke inside the residence to floor level. Many windows in the residence were broken out to release the trapped heat and smoke, preventing a potentially explosive backdraft or smoke explosion from taking place. The fire was contained to the dining room walls and flooring, causing heavy smoke and heat damage throughout the home. The home remained structurally intact and was repaired. The family was not displaced as a result of the fire as they were already relocated due to the ongoing renovations; however, their return to the home was significantly delayed until all the damage was repaired. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. The cause of the fire was investigated and determined to be the spontaneous ignition of oil-soaked rags discarded in a dining room trash receptacle. A Reading engine responded to the fire while a Stoneham engine covered fire headquarters.

Captain Randy Hudson led crews who responded to a reported structure fire at 149 Water Street during the morning of September 15. Arriving firefighters found a fire inside a first floor apartment which was quickly extinguished. The fire caused a significant smoke condition in the common stairwells and hallways of the six-family apartment building. The fire did not extend beyond the room of origin but was severe enough to displace the four occupants of that apartment. The remainder of the occupants were able to remain in their apartments. The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist the displaced occupants. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental, caused by the charging of non-rechargeable batteries for a bicycle motor inside the first floor bedroom. The batteries overheated and exploded, which caused the fire. The department received mutual aid from the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene while engines from Reading and Saugus covered fire headquarters.

Firefighters under Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported kitchen fire at 30 Salem Street during the afternoon of November 1. The fire was out on arrival and was primarily confined to the stove area. Two young occupants of the apartment, Caden and Cody Hourihan, impressed firefighters with their calm manner during the fire. The boys alerted their mom to the oven fire, brought her an extinguisher to put it out, directed her how to use the extinguisher, told her to call 911 and exited the apartment to wait for firefighters. When the firefighters arrived, the boys informed them of what had happened and directed them to the fastest way to the kitchen area. The boys were instrumental in keeping a potentially serious fire from developing and providing good advice to their mom. The boys were recognized at a brief ceremony at Wakefield Fire Headquarters on December 11.

Captain Thomas Purcell directed firefighters at the scene of a structure fire at 28 Walton Street during the morning of November 13. Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from under the floor of a mobile home at that location after an occupant spotted smoke and called 911. The floor was quickly opened up allowing the fire to be extinguished. The cause was determined to be an electrical malfunction in the crawl space under the floor. The fire caused extensive damage to the electrical system, forcing power to be cut to the home and displacing its residents until repairs can be completed. There were no injuries to either firefighters or residents during this incident.

There were several non-fire related incidents that were noteworthy in 2018. Crews operating under Captain Randy Hudson responded to a significant gas leak in the area of 910 Main Street during the evening of August 31. Firefighters working with members of the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department quickly discovered a leak in an underground gas line owned by National Grid. Department members gained entry to numerous buildings in the vicinity of the leak to check for the presence of natural gas. Fortunately no dangerous levels of natural gas were found inside any of these buildings and the situation was resolved by employees of National Grid.

The communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover were rocked by numerous explosions when a natural gas pipeline became over-pressurized during the afternoon of September 13. Those communities quickly received reports of more than 70 structure fires and explosions within a matter of minutes, quickly overwhelming them. The effectiveness of the state’s mutual aid was displayed in a stunning fashion, with more than 300 fire apparatus from approximately 174 communities being dispatched to the three communities within an hour from all over the region including New Hampshire and Maine. Wakefield Engine 1 with Lieutenant Cliff Silva and Firefighters Christopher Curran, Roberta Taggart and Kevin Wesley were dispatched along with myself to the staging area in the parking lot of the Andover High School as part of a combined task force consisting of two dozen fire apparatus from the area. These units were subsequently dispatched to dozens of calls received by the Andover Fire Department over the next several hours as the incident progressed through the evening before finally being contained and controlled. It is extremely comforting to know that such a vast array of resources are available to a local fire department should such an incident occur.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to the Irving Gas/ Blue Canoe service station at 448 Salem Street during the morning of December 21 for a reported fuel spill. Upon arrival, firefighters found that a vehicle had driven away from a fuel pump with the hose still attached spilling approximately 25 gallons of gasoline in the process. Irving employees turned off the fuel pumps while firefighters blocked off local storm drains and soaked up the spilled fuel with an absorbent material. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection responded to the scene and directed Irving employees to retain a licensed environmental cleanup contractor to remediate the spill and remove the fuel that had entered the storm drains. The quick actions of firefighters averted a much more serious incident involving a fire or explosion from occurring and limited the extent of environmental contamination from the released fuel.

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 47 requests for mutual aid during 2018. Mutual aid responses included fires in Chelsea, Lynnfield, Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Saugus, Stoneham and Woburn. A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Sean Curran assisted the Revere Fire Department at the scene of a multiple alarm fire at the Sozio Appliance Center on Squire Road during the evening of February 17. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Robert Taggart assisted the Melrose Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 504 Lebanon Street during the evening of March 3. Lieutenant John Mercurio and a crew from Engine 1 assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 13 Berkley Street during the evening of April 12. Lieutenant Joseph Albert along with a crew from Engine 2 covered a vacant Malden fire station during a multiple-alarm fire in that city during the morning of April 18. Acting Lieutenant John Hurley along with Firefighters from Engine 2 assisted the Chelsea Fire Department at the scene of a 6-alarm fire at 10 John Street during the evening of May 2. Acting Lieutenant John O’Brien led a crew from Engine 2 that assisted the Revere Fire Department at the scene of a multiple-alarm fire 10 Franklin Avenue in Revere during the evening of September 16. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Robert Taggart covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that city during the afternoon of September 28.

Lieutenant Michael Long participated in two incidents involving activations of the Massachusetts District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team during 2018. The first involved a fire in a container of aluminum shavings at an industrial site in Waltham during the afternoon of January 15 and the second involved an ammonia leak at the Necco plant located at 135 American Legion Highway in Revere during the afternoon of September 11. This regional hazardous materials response team is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which pays for all the training costs to support the team’s activities.

Captain Paul Pronco and Firefighter Steven Bivens are members of the Northeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team. This team was not called to any incidents during 2018 but actively trains and prepares for incidents that may require a technical rescue such as building and trench collapses. The Regional Technical Rescue Team is partially subsidized by funding provided by The Northeast Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council, which reimburses the department for all training and incident response expenses associated with this team.

Personnel

As of December 31, 2018, the Wakefield Fire Department consisted of 51 personnel: The Fire Chief, five Captains, including a Captain assigned as Fire Prevention Officer, 12 Lieutenants, 32 firefighters; and one civilian administrative secretary.

The year 2018 brought several personnel changes to the Wakefield Fire Department. Three members of the Wakefield Fire Department resigned during 2018; Captain Christopher Smith on February 16, Firefighter Patrick Jarvis on March 14 and Firefighter Sean Giampa on November 15.

The resignation of Captain Smith resulted in the subsequent promotion of Wakefield Fire Lieutenant John Walsh to Fire Captain and Wakefield Firefighter Daniel Hancock to Fire Lieutenant on April 9. Captain Walsh, a 14-year member of the department, has been assigned as the new Fire Prevention Officer for the department. Lieutenant Hancock, a seven-year member of the department, was assigned to Group 1 under Captain Randy Hudson.

Two new Wakefield Firefighters, Sean Gill and Patrick Farrell, both residents of Wakefield, were appointed permanent firefighters to replace Captain Smith and Firefighter Jarvis. Firefighters Gill and Farrell were not sworn in until December 19, as they had to wait for open slots at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA). Both are presently enrolled in a ten-week training program with the MFA Recruit Class 271 with an anticipated graduation date of March 8, 2019. The department welcomes Firefighters Gill and Farrell with warm wishes for a long and productive career in the fire service. Firefighter Sean Giampa’s spot has not been replaced yet and will be filled during the next several months.

Apparatus and Equipment

The Department did not replace any major fire apparatus during 2018. It did, however, take delivery of a new 2018 Chevy Tahoe that will be used as the new command car for the shift Captains. The 2014 Ford Explorer will become the new vehicle assigned to the Fire Prevention Officer and the former fire prevention vehicle, a 2002 Chevy Tahoe, will remain in service with the town and be assigned to the town’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

The Department received a federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) totaling $16,364 to be used towards the purchase of a new set of air bags as well as a set of hydraulic forcible entry tools. This AFG grant funded 90% of the cost of this equipment with the remaining 10% local match coming from a Fiscal Year 2019 Capital Outlay request. This equipment requested under the AFG grant replaced a worn out set of air bags that were 15 years old and approaching the end of their service life. The air bags can be quickly deployed to lift heavy objects in a safe and stable manner without the use of cumbersome jacks. The AFG grant also funded the purchase of five hydraulic “rabbit tools,” one for each of the department’s four pumpers and the ladder truck, to be utilized in fire and rescue incidents to quickly force open doors. Wakefield has many large apartment and condominium complexes where a significant number of units may have to be accessed and searched in a short period of time during an emergency. Hydraulic rescue tools allow a door to be forced open in less than a minute resulting in a fast and efficient search for any trapped building occupants. A fast-moving fire or gas leak will require that a search of these units be done quickly, which will be much faster than the department’s compliment of hand tools such as pry bars and axes can accomplish.

Town Meeting authorized the expenditure of $180,000 to make upgrades and improvements to the radio system infrastructure for both the police and fire departments, including radio receivers, repeaters, comparators and associated equipment. The requested funding would also add an additional receiver site at the Northeast Regional Vocational School for the police and fire radio systems, boosting the radio signal for this area of town. The receiver site presently at the Colonial Point Apartment Building on Audubon Road will also be relocated to the Four Points Sheraton Hotel. The present Verizon copper phone lines that connect the various receivers with the Public Safety Building and the main repeater on the Hart’s Hill water tower are obsolete and fail often during inclement weather rendering one or more receivers inoperable. The new equipment will utilize fiber optic cable to connect the receivers and repeaters, making the radio system for both departments more efficient and reliable. An Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) for $6,460 for the purchase of fiber optic cable to support improvements to the department’s radio system related to this radio project was secured in the spring of 2018. This grant helped fund the purchase and installation of fiber optic cable for the Vocational school and Sheraton Hotel receiver sites. This important project is nearly completed and will be finished during the first few months of 2019. The department has also applied for a federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Department of Homeland Security for $75,000 to be used to replace the department’s air compressor for its breathing apparatus refill system.

Wakefield Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Walsh has also applied for an additional Fiscal Year 2018 EMPG grant of $6,315 to be used towards the purchase of body armor and ballistic helmets for Wakefield firefighters. This equipment would help to protect department members participating in a rescue task force group during an incident involving an active shooter. Firefighters, working under the direction and protection of law enforcement personnel, would enter an area involving an active shooter, identify victims, render first aid and evacuate them to a safe area where they could be transported to an area hospital for follow-up care. This grant is expected to be awarded in January of 2019.

All the department’s pumper engines, fire hose, ground ladders, air compressor and breathing apparatus were inspected, tested and certified during 2018. The aerial ladder for Ladder 1 was also inspected and certified.

Training

The department participated in many training programs this year, including programs offered by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy as well as outside vendors brought in to train on specialized topics. During 2018 the Wakefield Fire Department conducted training sessions covering the following topics:

Captain Paul Pronco and Firefighter Steven Bivens continue to be active members of the Northeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, which became operational in February of 2010. Lieutenant Michael Long continues to be an active member of the District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team.

Fire Prevention

The department conducted in-service inspections of all commercial and industrial properties in town during 2018. As a result, 575 business fire inspections were conducted in the community between March and December of 2018 by on-duty firefighters operating on a ready-to-respond basis. These in-service inspections also have the added benefit of familiarizing department members with the floor plans and individual hazards associated within buildings prior to an emergency situation. An additional 84 quarterly inspections of school buildings, nursing homes, hotels and boarding homes were also conducted by on-duty firefighters.

Captain John Walsh, the department’s Fire Prevention Officer, conducted 67 inspections related to local and state licensing of restaurants, group homes, day care centers and after-school programs. Captain Walsh also completed 660 compliance inspections during 2018 to ensure that any potential violations or hazards discovered were corrected. The compliance checks also allow emergency business contacts for these properties to be updated, resulting in faster notification of property owners during an emergency.

The year 2018 brought a continuation of a significant construction boom in Wakefield. Many buildings were demolished in preparation for new construction including locations on Main Street, North Avenue and Water Street. Single family homes in many locations around town were torn down to make room for new structures. The department‘s Fire Prevention Bureau closely monitored and completed final inspections of a large construction project at the Wakefield Station at 175 North Avenue including a new restaurant at that site named Tonno’s. A large building is being constructed at 209 Water Street that will house up to 1,000 self-storage units. A 34-unit apartment building at 3 Bennett Street, the site of the former Boit Home, is progressing rapidly as is a smaller apartment building just up the street at 640 Main Street. A small residential development has also been completed on Hart Street on the site of the former Crystal Chemical Company. Land has been cleared in preparation for the construction of a 19-unit apartment building at 592 North Avenue. The site of the former Wakefield Corporation Building at 69 Foundry Street has been cleared in preparation for the construction of an 81-unit apartment building at that location.

This year promises to be another busy construction year for Wakefield as more construction projects have been proposed or approved for Audubon Road, Foundry Street and Tarrant Lane. The Fire Prevention Bureau will closely monitor these developments during calendar year 2019. The department continues to conduct plan reviews of dozens of residential additions, new homes and commercial tenant fit-ups in many locations around Wakefield. The department also maintains a strong presence at Wakefield’s annual Fourth of July Parade, Italian Festival and Holiday Stroll.

The department presently does not have the necessary funding to conduct fire safety classes in the local school system. This is unfortunate since classroom instruction of fire safety and survival skills have been proven to save the lives of school-age children on many occasions state wide. Several large pre-schools in town including the preschool center at the Doyle School as well as some kindergarten classes visited both fire stations during 2018. Multiple fire drills were conducted at each school facility and the department assisted with multi-hazard evacuation drills at every public and private school in Wakefield during 2018. The department participates in school activities including guest reader days and fire truck washings whenever possible as it strives to increase its visibility in the school system and promote awareness on fire safety issues.

A full-time Fire Prevention Officer continues to play a vital role in the Wakefield Fire Department. The department simply can’t function properly without this position. The recent construction boom of the past several years has only served to reinforce the importance of this position. Wakefield has many large construction projects that require close tracking to ensure that proper safety procedures are in place and being complied with. The Fire Prevention Officer positively affects the department’s ability to conduct enforcement duties more efficiently and effectively. Commercial properties are being inspected and violations are followed up in a timely manner. This position also coordinates walking tours of various commercial properties and major construction sites in town by each of the department’s four duty shifts. This increases the awareness and overall operational safety of all department members by making them aware of specific safety hazards that they may encounter at the locations they visit. Wakefield is a growing community undergoing significant changes to its residential and commercial infrastructure. The department is struggling to keep up with these changes and needs to increase its staffing in the fire prevention division. The department will advocate for another full-time fire prevention position in the coming year to assist with the increased workload it is being asked to handle.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I am grateful to the community and especially the Town Council, Finance Committee and Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio for their ongoing support during the year. As the Town enters 2019, my goals are to closely monitor the town’s ongoing major construction projects, provide quality training programs for department members and continue to advocate and request funding for more staffing in fire prevention and a new fire department pumper. I would like to thank all the members of the Wakefield Fire Department, the Wakefield Police Department, all other town boards, committees and departments and the citizens of Wakefield for their continued support and assistance.

Respectfully submitted,

Chief Michael J. Sullivan
Wakefield Fire Department

Further reading:

Reports from previous years:

Home