Wakefield Fire Department News 2004

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December 2004

The most significant incident of December was a fatal fire involving two motor vehicles that occurred in the parking lot of a Salem Street business establishment in the cold early morning hours of December 28th. This fire claimed the life of a 45-year old female and the cause of the fire and circumstances of the fatality remain under investigation by the Wakefield Police, State Police and State Fire Marshal's Office.

Steven Kessel swearing in as LieutenantSteven Kessel (center) being sworn in as Fire Lieutenant Firefighter Steven P. Kessel was promoted to Fire Lieutenant effective on December 16, 2004. Lieutenant Kessel is a twenty-four year member of the Wakefield Fire Department, a US Navy Veteran and held the top score on the civil service promotion list for Lieutenant. Lt. Kessel has been assigned to the Greenwood Station, Engine 2 on Group 2, filling the vacancy created by the recent retirement of Fire Lieutenant James J. Smith.

November 2004

Firefighters fighting a live gas fireFlamable Liquid and Gas Fire TrainingFire Lieutenant Joseph G. Riley and Firefighter Eugene D. Doucette traveled to Reno, Nevada to participate in a Flammable Liquid and Gas Fire Training Progam, presented at the University of Nevada Fire Training Center. The special training provided to our firefighters at this program will help us to prepare for a potential terrorist related fuel tank truck fire, particularly on the busy section of Route 95/128 that passes through Wakefield. This week long course was offered FREE of charge to the Town of Wakefield courtesy of a US Dept. of Energy Grant Program.

October 2004

Lt. J. SmithRetired Lt. James Smith Fire Lieutenant James J. Smith retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on October 2nd, 2004. Lieut. Smith was appointed a Call Firefighter on July 1, 1970; appointed a Permanent Firefighter on November 1, 1970; promoted to Fire Lieutenant on March 14, 1995. Lt. Smith leaves the department with the best wishes of his associates for a happy and healthy retirement.

September 2004

With the opening of school for the new year, all schools were inspected and fire evacuation drills were conducted by fire department personnel.

August 2004

Engine 2 from Wakefield responded to the scene of a fast moving 3-alarm fire in North Reading Center on Friday, August 20th. Search & rescue / SCBA training was conducted at the vacant Robie Industrial Park buildings on Water Street and the department participated in the annual Common Ground event sponsored by the Wakefield-Lynnfield Elks Club on August 22nd.

July 2004

Ladder 1's 100-foot aerial ladder was inspected and tested, as were all of the fire department portable ground ladders during July. All equipment tested was certified to be in safe operating condition.

The department purchased a new EZ Loader trailer to transport the two rescue boats. The trailer was placed into service on July 10th, and the former trailer, a 1970 Highlander, was transferred to the DPW - Water Division, to haul their aluminum boat used on Crystal Lake.

June 2004

Firefighter Robert L. Thompson retired from the Wakefield Fire Department, his retirement becoming effective on June 12th. Firefighter Thompson was an excellent firefighter who served the town and the Wakefield Fire Department for thirty-four years. Firefighter Thompson was also a jack-of-all-trades and over his years of service to the department always was fixing this or that and overall making our department operate better! We thank Firefighter Thompson for his service and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

Gary F. Hill of 10 Turnbull Avenue, Wakefield, was appointed a Permanent Firefighter effective on June 11, 2004. Firefighter Hill was a four-year veteran of the Needham Fire Department, is a graduate of the Worcester Recruit Firefighting Academy and is a certified paramedic. Firefighter Hill actually comes to Wakefield as a civil service transfer from Needham, and has been assigned to Group # 1.

May 2004

Firefighter Thomas C. Ronan retired from the Wakefield Fire Department, his retirement becoming effective on May 1st. Firefighter Ronan was an excellent firefighter who served the town and the Wakefield Fire Department for 29 years. We thank Firefighter Ronan for his service and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

April 2004

As we were getting 'settled' into the new Public Safety Building, the department was kept very busy in dealing with the record breaking rains of April 1 - 3, where the department answered over forty emergency incidents related to flooding.

March 2004

The Wakefield Fire Department officially moved operations from our temporary quarters to the new Public Safety Building on March 31, 2004. At 0800 hrs. we established two dispatch centers as vital communication equipment were transferred from the North Avenue temporary fire station to the new facility. By 1030 the transfer was complete and we were dispatching from the new Public Safety Building, and operations at North Avenue were disconnected. By noon, all equipment, apparatus and manpower were transferred from North Avenue and full operations initiated from Union Street. During the afternoon, we concentrated on moving the administrative offices from the Montrose School to the Public Safety Building. Much of this move involved moving records and reports, and the entire move was completed by 1700 hrs.

February 2004

The highlight of the month of February was the long awaited dedication of the new Public Safety Building at One Union Street, held on the beautiful Sunday afternoon of February 29th. The dedication ceremony and open house that followed were both well received and well attended by federal, state and local dignitaries, residents and public safety officials from neighboring communities.

A special open house was held on Saturday, February 28th, when local firefighters and police officers, past and present along with their families, were treated to a flag raising ceremony and tours of the facility. In addition, the surviving family members unveiled a memorial plaque honoring the eight Wakefield Firefighters who died in the line of duty during the history of the department.

The Dive Rescue Team completed an intense Ice Rescue Diver Training Program at Crystal Lake. This training completed the various segments of training required for the eight members of the Dive Rescue Team to become fully certified.

January 2004

The Wakefield Fire Department completed calendar year 2003 responding to 2,620 incidents, including 464 Box Alarms, 2,156 Still Alarms and six second-alarm fires. In January, the department had a busy month, mainly due to the record breaking frigid cold weather. Fortunately, there were no serious structural fires, but the department was busy responding to heating system emergencies and water problems attributed to freezing pipes.

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