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December 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 233 emergency incidents during the month of December 2007 including 40 Box Alarms and 193 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 5 mutual aid requests during December, including Melrose (2), Saugus (2) and Gloucester (1). The response to Gloucester was on December 15th when Wakefield Engine 2 responded to assist the Gloucester Fire department in battling a major fatal fire involving an apartment building and temple in the congested downtown area of the city. Wakefield Firefighters staffing Engine 2 pumped water to the fire from a hydrant on Rogers Street. This was only the second response to Gloucester in our department’s history, the other occurring on February 4th, 1961 when Wakefield Engine 1 responded to a major department store fire in downtown Gloucester, just 2-blocks from the December 15th fire.

Other Fire Department activities during the month of December included:

Firefighter Marnie E. Sheeran graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy – Recruit Training Program on December 21, 2007. Firefighter Sheeran started work in Wakefield on December 24th, 2007 assigned to Group 2.

November 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 198 emergency incidents during the month of November 2007 including 33 Box Alarms and 165 Still Alarms.

On Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 1:24 PM the Wakefield Fire Department responded to a 2 alarm fire at 246 Salem Street. This fire, which was started accidentally by a candle, heavily damaged a first floor apartment in a 4-unit apartment building. An aggressive attack by firefighters under the direction of Captain John F. Brown, Jr. kept the fire in the apartment of origin, stopping it before it could spread throughout the building. Although there were no injuries, 12 residents of the building were displaced by this fire.

The department was also busy in November handling a larger than normal number of heating system emergencies and carbon monoxide detector investigations, due mainly to the colder weather and the large number of carbon monoxide detectors in residences as now required by state law.

The fire department responded to 4 mutual aid requests during November, including Melrose (2) and Stoneham (2). The department received mutual aid from 5 communities during November including Reading, Lynnfield, North Reading, Stoneham and Melrose, all needed to assist in fighting the Salem Street fire on November 14th.

Other Fire Department activities during the month of November included:

We would also like to acknowledge a very generous gift of $7,000 to the fire department from our friends at the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation on Audubon Road. It is our hope to use these funds to purchase a new Thermal Imaging Camera.

October 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 177 emergency incidents during the month of October 2007 including 35 Box Alarms and 142 Still Alarms. The fire department responded to 2 mutual aid requests during October, including Reading (1) and Stoneham (1). The response to Stoneham was to a 4-alarm fire in Stoneham Square that occurred on the evening of October 23rd, where Wakefield Lieut. Kevin Carney, and Firefighters Philip Rogers and Chris Crogan played a pivotal role in preventing the fire from spreading to the Stoneham Theatre building, just 2 feet away from the original-main fire building. The department did receive mutual aid once during October, that being from Stoneham.

Firefighter Russell C. Berube retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on October 29, 2007. Firefighter Berube was appointed a Permanent Firefighter on October 28, 1976 and also served as the Superintendent of Fire Alarm and Traffic Signals as well as the department’s Fire Investigator. We thank Russ for his 31 years of service to the Wakefield Fire Department and we wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

Marnie E. Sheeran was re-instated as a Permanent Firefighter effective on October 1, 2007. Ms. Sheeran fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Firefighter Shawn Hudson in July and has been assigned to the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy – Recruit Training Program.

Firefighter Daniel P. Sullivan received a commendation for his quick actions on October 18, 2007. Firefighter Sullivan, off-duty at the time, was the first to arrive at a working kitchen fire at a home on Auburn Street, where he quickly notified the fire department via cell phone, removed an occupant from the home, and then using a garden hose controlled the fire until the arrival of firefighters.

The fire and police departments are grateful to Hartshorne Insurance Co. for once again sponsoring the printing of an updated pocket size Wakefield street and information guide book that has been distributed to all firefighters, police officers and Action Ambulance personnel.

October is traditionally Fire Prevention Month, and firefighters coordinated by Fire Prevention Officer Captain Paul J. Pronco and utilizing a gift from Alcoa-Reynolds Food Packaging Co., once again visited all of the public and private elementary schools with the Fire Safety House, an excellent hands-on fire safety education tool that has been very popular and effective. The department also greeted several school groups that visited the Public Safety Building and Greenwood Fire Station during the month.

Training / Fire Prevention activities completed during October included:

September 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 209 emergency incidents during the month of September 2007 including 40 Box Alarms and 169 Still Alarms. The fire department responded to 8 mutual aid requests during September, including Melrose (6), Saugus (1) and Stoneham (1). The department did not receive mutual aid during September.

September continued to be an unusually dry month after a dry summer, which attributed to a high number of brush, grass and mulch fires during the month.

All department vehicles were inspected and received new inspection stickers on September 19th. I am pleased to report that all vehicles passed without any problems or issues. Ladder 1, the 1995 aerial ladder / rescue truck received all new tires and a brake job during September. We are grateful to Chief John O’Brien of the Melrose Fire Department for allowing us to use the spare Melrose Ladder Truck while ours was in the repair shop.

Training / Fire Prevention activities completed during September included:

August 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 203 emergency incidents during the month of August 2007 including 41 Box Alarms and 162 Still Alarms. The fire department responded to 2 mutual aid requests during August, including Melrose (1), and North Reading (1). The department received mutual aid once during August, that being from Stoneham.

There were several notable emergency incidents during August, including a strong wind squall that hit the town on the evening of August 8th felling trees, branches and power lines; a dumpster fire set by a youth at an Albion Street business on August 26th that was spreading to the adjacent structure before being extinguished by firefighters; and the rescue of an elderly resident of a local nursing home who fell down a dumbwaiter shaft on August 4th. At this incident, under the direction of Lieut. Steven Kessel, Firefighter Brian Purcell lowered Firefighter Thomas Curran down the shaft where he secured the victim, and then joined by Firefighters Gary Hill and Chris Crogan lifted her to safety after suffering only minor injuries. An excellent job well done by all involved!

Auto Extracation demonstration during Common Ground

The Wakefield Fire Department, along with the Police, Department of Public Works, Municipal Gas & Light Department, and Action Ambulance Service participated in the annual Common Ground – Public Safety / Public Service Day on the Common on Saturday, August 18. This is a terrific event sponsored by the Wakefield-Lynnfield Lodge of Elks that allows local residents to see their public safety / public service departments in action. This year, firefighters had the METROFIRE Fire Safety House for the children; the METROFIRE Regional Haz Mat Response Team on display, and provided a demonstration of firefighting equipment including the “Jaws of Life” Rescue Tool.

Training / Fire Prevention activities completed during August included:

July 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 242 emergency incidents during the month of July 2007 including 45 Box Alarms and 197 Still Alarms. The fire department responded to 6 mutual aid requests during July, including Saugus (1), Melrose (1), and Lynnfield (4) including responses to 2 serious house fires. The department received mutual aid once during July, that being from Lynnfield.

Firefighter Shawn Hudson resigned from the Wakefield Fire Department on July 5, 2007 for personal / medical reasons. Firefighter Hudson was appointed to the Wakefield Fire Department on July 1, 1999 and was an excellent member of the department. We wish Shawn good health and good luck in his future endeavors.

The fire department was actively involved in the annual Fourth of July celebration in Wakefield, including the morning events on the Common, the parade and in particular the safe discharge of the evening fireworks. Although the weather wasn’t picture perfect, the annual celebration went well with no significant incidents.

Captains Michael Sullivan, David Myette, Paul Pronco and Lieutenants Kevin Carney and Randy Hudson all completed the Incident Command System – 300 - 24 hour training program during July. All fire department officers are required to complete this program before September 30, 2007 and the remaining officers are scheduled to attend in mid-August and early September.

Training activities during July included:

The department also had the opportunity to conduct various training evolutions at the vacant Montrose Ice Cream building at 518 Salem Street, including sprinkler operations, forcible entry and ventilation.

The Fire Chief was able to take 2-weeks of vacation during July, and many thanks to Captain Paul J. Pronco who served as Acting Fire Chief during this period.

June 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 201 emergency incidents during the month of June 2007 including 37 Box Alarms and 164 Still Alarms. The fire department did not respond on any mutual aid requests during June, but received mutual aid on two occasions, once from Reading and once from Stoneham.

On Saturday, June 2nd at 4:27 PM the department responded to a serious house fire at 39 Hopkins Street. The fire, which started in an outside rubbish container, spread up the exterior of the house and into the attic via an attic vent opening, was spreading across the attic of the colonial style home when it was stopped by firefighters. This was an excellent fire-ground operation supervised by Captain Richard Smith and Lieutenant Joseph Riley where the actions of the firefighters prevented much more serious damage / destruction to this home.

The department provided several presentations for local school groups as the school year came to an end. Several schools traveled to visit the Headquarters or Greenwood Stations, and the department visited the Dolbeare and Woodville Schools with Ladder 1.

The Wakefield Fire Department observed our annual Firefighters Memorial Services on Sunday, June 10th at Lakeside Cemetery. Wakefield Firefighters Relief Association President Firefighter Sean Curran again planned and executed an excellent ceremony honoring the departed members of the Wakefield Fire Department.

 Chief David Parr and Firefighter Sean Curran place a wreath during the Firefighters Memorial Service

Training activities during June included:

The department is grateful for two donations received during the month of June, including an $8,000 donation from Alcoa-Reynolds Food Packaging at 400 Audubon Road and a $ 1,500 donation from the Rotary Club of Wakefield. The Alcoa-Reynolds donation will be used to fund our annual school fire safety education program presented to the elementary children in October and the rotary donation to upgrade our cold water rescue gear, survival suits, etc.

May 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 202 emergency incidents during the month of May 2007 including 27 Box Alarms and 175 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 7 mutual aid requests during May, including Melrose (4) and Saugus (3). The department received mutual aid on one occasion during May from the Town of Stoneham.

During the month of May the department begin to handle a variety of emergency incidents common with the summer season, including an increase in motor vehicle accidents and grass / brush fires, including a 4-acre brush fire in the woods off Butternut Road on Sunday, May 6th.

Other activities during the month of May included:

On Monday, May 28th, the department once again took part in the annual Memorial Day Parade from the Galvin Middle School to Wakefield Common.

April 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 186 emergency incidents during the month of April 2007 including 28 Box Alarms and 158 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 5 mutual aid requests during April, including Melrose (2), Reading (1) and Lynnfield (2). The department did not receive mutual aid during April.

On April 17th, 2007, each member of the Wakefield Fire Department was issued his/her own portable fire radio, and additional battery hand lights were purchased and distributed throughout the department. A $7,800 Massachusetts State Equipment Grant funded both of these firefighter safety improvements.

The fire department’s new Seagrave Maurader II pumper - Engine 1 - was placed into service on Thursday, April 26, 2007. The former Engine 1, a 1996 Seagrave pumper has been re-designated as Engine 4 and re-assigned to the Greenwood Station as our ready-reserve pumper. The new pumper is constructed of stainless steel, is powered by a Detroit Diesel engine, and has a 1,250 Gallon-Per-Minute Watrous pump, a 750-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon foam tank.

Wakefield's New Engine 1 - Seagrave Maurader II (photo by Bruce Whittemore)

On Saturday, April 21st, a ceremony was held at the Greenwood Fire Station officially dedicating the new pumper in memory of L. Murray Young, who passed away suddenly on November 30, 2006. Mr. Young was a life-long resident of Wakefield, a widely known fire buff, Wakefield Fire Department historian and avid supporter. Mr. Young contributed so much to the town and the fire department; it was only fitting that the new pumper that he aided in designing be dedicated in his memory.

March 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 225 emergency incidents during the month of March 2007 including 43 Box Alarms and 182 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 2 mutual aid requests during March, including Lynn (1) and Lynnfield (1). The department did not receive mutual aid during March.

The fire department’s new Seagrave Maurader II pumper was delivered to Wakefield in March, and firefighters conducted initial training with the Seagrave factory representative. After additional training, lettering and equipment switchover we hope to place the new Engine 1 into service in April.

Other Fire Department activities during the month of March included:

Firefighter Roberta Taggart graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy – Recruit Training Program on Friday, March 30, 2006. All of the 14 new firefighters hired over the past 3 years have now completed the recruit-training program and are at work on their assigned shifts here in Wakefield.

February 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 205 emergency incidents during the month of February 2007 including 39 Box Alarms and 166 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 7 mutual aid requests during February, including Melrose (2), Lynnfield (2), Stoneham (2), and Reading (1).

The department continued to be busy during February handling the usual calls related to the cold weather, including dealing with the effects of the Valentines Day ice storm, which actually “froze” many residents in/out of their homes!!

Fire Department activities during the month of February included:

On February 1 – 2, the Fire Chief traveled to Clintonville, Wisconsin to conduct the final inspection on Wakefield’s new Seagrave fire pumper. The pumper did meet our specifications/pass final inspection and following some final preparations should be delivered to Wakefield during the month of March.

The new Engine 1 under construction

January 2007

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 249 emergency incidents during the month of January 2007 including 53 Box Alarms and 196 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 6 mutual aid requests during January, including Melrose (1), Saugus (1), Stoneham (2), and Reading (2). The department received mutual aid twice in January, once from Stoneham, once from Melrose.

The department was kept quite busy during January handling the usual calls related to our cold weather, including a chimney fire, numerous heating system problems – carbon monoxide alarm activations, and water problems related to frozen and burst water pipes.

Fire Department activities during the month of January included:

Ice and Water Rescue Training

Firefighter Roberta Taggart started the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy – Recruit Training Program on January 8, 2007, with graduation set for Friday, March 30, 2007.

Mr. Jonathan O’Brien was appointed a Permanent Firefighter effective on January 1, 2007. Firefighter O’Brien, a Wakefield resident and son of retired Wakefield Police Detective John O’Brien, actually comes to Wakefield through a civil service lateral transfer from the Winchester Fire Department, where he served as a Firefighter – Paramedic for 2 years. During his service with the Winchester Fire Department, Firefighter O’Brien completed the Mass. Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Program.

Firefighter Jonathan O’Brien being sworn in

Other news:

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