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December 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 258 emergency incidents during the month of December including 37 box alarms and 221 still alarms.

The Department responded to six mutual aid requests during December, five times to Melrose and once to Lynnfield. It did not receive any mutual aid during the month of December. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Melrose Fire headquarters during the afternoon of December 9 while that City fought a working structure fire at 26 Altamont Avenue. Captain Richard Smith along with a crew form Engine 1 assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at a car fire on Bay State Road at about noon on December 20. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 under the command of Acting Lieutenant Phil Preston assisted the Melrose Fire Department at a fire on the ninth floor of the Steele House on Nason Drive during the evening of December 21.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a small one-room fire in a rooming house at 398 Main Street during the early morning of December 14. The fire, ignited by an unattended candle, was fortunately confined to the immediate area of the candle. Smoke from the fire quickly filled the second floor area where the room was located and had to be vented by firefighters. There were no injuries and the damage was confined to some trash and contents inside the room.

December was a tragic month for firefighters across the state as the Massachusetts fire service suffered though two line-of-duty deaths. Worcester Firefighter Jon Davies was killed in the line of duty on December 8 while operating at a building fire on Grove Street in Worcester. Firefighter Davies was killed when the building collapsed while he was searching it for trapped occupants. A little more than two weeks later Peabody Firefighter James Rice was killed while operating at a building fire in that city. The Methuen Fire Department suffered yet another tragedy when active Firefighter Robert George died suddenly while off-duty on December 21. Any one of these deaths is upsetting by itself but when combined they made for a tough month as families prepared to celebrate the upcoming holidays. The Wakefield Fire Department was well represented at both line-of-duty funerals in Worcester and Peabody and will keep the families of all three firefighters in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to serve the public in 2012.

November 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 245 emergency incidents during the month of November including 33 box alarms and 212 still alarms.

The Department responded to six mutual aid requests during November, three times to Melrose, twice to Stoneham and once to Saugus. During November it received mutual aid two times, once from Melrose and once from Lynnfield. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 under the command of Acting Lieutenant Chris Smith assisted the Saugus Fire Department at a garage fire at 6 Johnson Terrace during the morning of November 6. Crews from Engine 2 and Ladder 1 responded to a 2-alarm fire at 546 Main Street in Stoneham on November 24 on Thanksgiving evening.

A kindergarten class from the Greenwood Elementary School visited the Greenwood Fire Station during the morning of November 4. Quarterly inspections were completed for all public and private schools, nursing homes, hotels and boarding houses during the month of November.

Firefighter Russell T. Ricker was appointed to the Wakefield Fire Department on November 2. Firefighter Ricker transferred from the Amesbury Fire Department, where he spent the last eight years as a career firefighter. He is a trained paramedic and a graduate of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. The department welcomes Firefighter Ricker and wishes him a long and prosperous career with the Wakefield Fire Department. Firefighter Ricker was hired to replace Wakefield Firefighter Phil Rogers, who resigned to accept a position with the Chelsea Fire Department.

October 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 319 emergency incidents during the month of October including 39 box alarms and 280 still alarms.

The Department responded to six mutual aid requests during October, three times to Melrose, twice to Stoneham and once to Lynn. During October it received mutual aid three times, once from Melrose, Lynnfield and Reading. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Brian Purcell assisted the City of Melrose at a 2-alarm basement fire at 150 Green Street during the evening of October 8. Later that same evening, the same crew covered the Fayette Street station in the City of Lynn during a 3-alarm fire in that community. Lt. Robert Taggart and a crew from Engine 2 responded to a 3-alarm fire at 13 Congress Street in Stoneham during the early morning hours of October 10. Engine 2 returned to Stoneham on October 26 with the lieutenant and his crew to assist at a 3-alarm fire at 65 Spring Street.

School evacuation drills were conducted at the Odyssey Day School, the Northeast Regional Vocational School and the Wakefield Memorial High School during the month of October. A group of Wakefield firefighters took part in a class offered at Woburn Toyota’s facility at 618 North Avenue regarding safety precautions at accident scenes involving hybrid vehicles on October 12. Eight department members took part in a vehicle extrication class offered by Firematic Supply Company free of charge on October 14-15 in Walpole.

October is Fire Prevention month and the Wakefield Fire Department received visits from numerous schools and groups during the month. Children from the Canterbury Children’s School visited the Public Safety Building on the morning of October 13 and 14. The North Suburban Family Network visited the Public Safety Building on October 15. A kindergarten class from the Greenwood Elementary School visited the Greenwood Fire Station during the morning of October 26. Chief Sullivan visited the Dutton Center on October 19 and the SEEM Collaborative facility at the Yeuell School on October 20 to give a fire safety talk as part of Fire Prevention month.

The weekend of October 29-30 will remain very memorable to the Wakefield Fire Department for quite some time to come as a Winter Nor’easter hit the region very hard during that weekend. Although Wakefield only received about 4 inches of snow, the heavy snow collected on tree limbs and their leaves bringing dozens of them down. Approximately 3300 businesses and households in Wakefield lost power at some point during the weekend. Police, Fire, Department of Public Works and Municipal Light Department crews responded to downed wires and trees and damaged electrical services to homes in an efficient and timely manner, insuring that the public’s safety was protected at all times until the hazards could be corrected and power restored. I am personally very grateful for the high level of cooperation shown between the various departments in Town. Wakefield is extremely fortunate to be blessed with its own municipal power company staffed with dedicated employees and they have once again demonstrated their effectiveness and commitment to the citizens of Wakefield under adverse weather conditions.

September 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 266 emergency incidents during the month of September including 43 box alarms and 223 still alarms.

The Department responded to three mutual aid requests during September, twice to Lynnfield and once to Melrose. During September it received mutual aid three times, once from Stoneham, Lynnfield and Melrose. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 covered the Lynnfield South Fire Station during the evening of September 6 while firefighters from that community were tied up with a serious car accident at Essex Street and Pillings Pond Road.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith and Lieutenant Brian Purcell extinguished a fire at 49 Chestnut Street on September 1. The fire started when an electric space heater was accidentally left on and subsequently ignited nearby bedding and other combustibles. The fire caused considerable fire damage in several rooms on the first floor. The entire home suffered significant smoke damage. There were no injuries during this fire and the two occupants were displaced from the residence until the necessary repairs can be made.

The Wakefield Fire Department again experienced significant changes to its personnel. Veteran firefighter Thomas Curran retired on September 19 after serving more than 28 years with the department. Firefighter Curran was appointed to the department on March 17, 1983 and at the time of his retirement was the senior firefighter on Group 1. We wish him a long and healthy retirement.

Firefighter Philip Rogers Jr. transferred from the Wakefield Fire Department to the Chelsea Fire Department on September 6 after serving almost 18 years with the department. Firefighter Rogers was a member of the Essex County Technical Rescue Team as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team. Firefighter Timothy Robblee transferred to the Malden Fire Department on September 21 after three years of service to the Wakefield Fire Department. We wish Firefighters Rogers and Robblee well as they continue their careers in Chelsea and Malden.

Fire drills were conducted in all public and private school buildings in Wakefield during the month of September. School Evacuation drills were conducted at the Walton, Dolbeare, Galvin, and Greenwood schools as well as Nazareth Academy. The department conducted training sessions on emergency vehicle extrication techniques during the month of September.

August 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 293 emergency incidents during the month of August including 46 box alarms and 247 still alarms.

The Department responded to two mutual aid requests during August, once to Reading and once to Stoneham. During August it received mutual aid six times, twice from Stoneham, twice from Lynnfield, once from Reading and once from Melrose. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 covered the Reading Fire Headquarters during the afternoon of August 3 while firefighters from that community were tied up with a natural gas leak in that town. Engine 2 also provided coverage to the town of Stoneham during the evening of August 13th.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith and Lieutenant Kevin Carney extinguished a fire at 17 Gladstone Street during the evening of August 7. The fire started when an extension cord fell into an open container of gasoline while the homeowner was repairing a motorcycle in the garage. The resulting fire seriously burned the resident and caused considerable damage to the garage and exterior siding of the home. The entire home suffered significant smoke damage. One firefighter was slightly injured during this incident.

Captain Smith and Lieutenant Brian Purcell commanded another group of firefighters at a house fire at 7 Avon Court during the afternoon of August 22nd. This fire started on the front porch when sunlight reflecting through a closed porch window and a mirror on a table set combustibles on fire. The fire was primarily confined to the front porch however the entire home suffered considerable smoke damage. One firefighter was injured at this fire. The homeowners were not displaced as a result of the fire. A seven year old boy living next door was credited with discovering the fire and bringing it to his mother’s attention.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts experienced its first hurricane since 1991 during the weekend of August 27-28. The town implemented an emergency plan for the storm and responded to many incidents on downed power lines and trees. Blocked roads were quickly cleared by crews from the DPW and any power outages were efficiently dealt with by the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department. The most serious incident occurred at 15 Minot Street when a house was crushed by a large pine tree during the height of the storm. Fortunately, there were no injuries to Wakefield citizens during the storm. Once again all town departments pulled together and handled a potentially dangerous emergency weather situation in a professional and efficient manner.

Ladder 1 visited the Kindercare Learning Center at 607 North Avenue on August 5th much to the delight of the children in attendance. The Department tested all of it ground ladders and fire engine pumps during the month of August. Ladder 1 also successfully passed an annual service test of its 100 foot aerial ladder.

July 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 274 emergency incidents during the month of July including 30 box alarms and 244 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during July, twice to Saugus, twice to Melrose and once to Lynnfield. During July it received mutual aid twice from Stoneham. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 covered the Melrose Fire Headquarters during the evening of July 11 while firefighters from that community were tied up at a structure fire in that city. A crew under the command of Lt. Brian Purcell assisted the Saugus Fire department at a two-alarm fire at the Kowloon Restaurant at 948 Broadway during the afternoon of July 12. Lt. Brian Purcell and his crew returned to Saugus during the early morning hours of July 23 when a gasoline tanker overturned and burst into flames. More than 20 communities responded to the resulting eight-alarm incident that claimed the life of the tank truck driver, destroyed several buildings and numerous vehicles.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith and Lieutenant Robert Taggart extinguished a fire at 580 Salem Street during the evening of July 13. The fire started when a portable fan unit fell onto a stuffed chair igniting it. Fortunately the building is equipped with a complete sprinkler system and the fire was controlled by the operation of a single sprinkler head located inside the living room. Fire damage was confined to the fan and chair with the room and the unit under it suffering some water damage. There were no injuries during this fire and the occupant was able to remain in the unit.

Approximately fifty children participating in the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Public Safety Academy visited Wakefield Police and Fire Headquarters at the Public Safety Building on July 13. Ladder 1 visited the YMCA summer camp at the First parish Congregational Church on July 19 much to the delight of the children in attendance. The Department received delivery of two new roof ventilation saws and a multi-gas detector as part of its Capital Outlay allocation for fiscal year 2012. Quarterly inspections of all nursing homes, schools, hotels, and boarding houses were completed during the first week of July.

June 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 310 emergency incidents during the month of June including 51 box alarms and 259 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during June, three times to Lynnfield and once each to Melrose and Reading. During June it received mutual aid five times, three times from Lynnfield and twice from Reading. Crews from Wakefield covered the Lynnfield South Fire Station when firefighters from that community were tied up at serious car accidents on June 4, 24 and 30. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Reading Fire Headquarters on June 15 during a major gas leak in that community.

Wakefield experienced its first major brush fire of 2011 on during the afternoon of June 9. Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to the area off of the end of Sylvan Avenue and extinguished a tough four acre brush fire. Crews were tied up the remainder of the afternoon and the Reading Fire Department provided mutual aid coverage. There were no injuries as a result of this fire, which was started as the result of an abandoned campfire.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley and Acting Lieutenant Phil Preston extinguished a fire at 58 Plymouth Road during the afternoon of June 28. The fire started when a bathroom ceiling light/fan unit malfunctioned and started a fire in the ceiling. The fire extended into the attic area directly above the bathroom before being quickly brought under control. A 14 year old resident was credited for discovering the fire and calling it in to 911. There were no injuries during this fire and the family of four was able to remain in the home.

All four duty shifts conducted a walk through familiarization tour of the new Digital IT storage facility located at 200 Quannapowitt Parkway during the month of June. The Wakefield Fire Department visited with the kindergarten and pre-school children from the Dolbeare and Woodville Schools during June. The children spent some quality time with firefighters while they helped them wash their trucks. Ladder 1 visited the Tall Spire pre-school on June 2nd and 6th much to the delight of the children in attendance. The group Parents of Tots visited Wakefield Fire headquarters on June 3rd where they received a tour of the station and fire apparatus.

May 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 266 emergency incidents during the month of May including 37 box alarms and 229 still alarms.

The Department responded to six mutual aid requests during May, three times to Melrose and once each to Stoneham, Lynnfield and Saugus. During May it received mutual aid three times, twice from Melrose and once from Stoneham. Wakefield Engine two and a crew led by Acting Lieutenant Sean Curran responded to a working fire at the Atlantic lobster facility on the Salem Turnpike in Saugus during the morning of May 15. Wakefield Engine two covered Melrose Fire Headquarters on May 16 and Stoneham Fire Headquarters on May 25 during working fires in those communities. Finally, Lt Thomas Purcell and his crew covered the South Lynnfield fire station during the morning of May 31 while they were tied up at a house fire on Chestnut Street.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson and Lieutenant Kevin Carney responded to a kitchen fire at 28 Church Street during the early morning of May 8. The oven-top grease fire was extinguished by the homeowner. Fire damage was confined to the immediate area of the stove but filled the house with a considerable amount of smoke. There were no injuries.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith extinguished a fire at 398 main Street started by an unattended candle during the evening of May 12. The fire was confined to the immediate area of the candle and there were no injuries.

Crews under Captain Joseph Riley and Acting Lieutenant Christopher Crogan extinguished a basement dryer fire during the afternoon of May 30. Hot weather conditions made this fire more difficult to extinguish and a Reading engine was called to the scene to provide relief to on-duty crews. A Lynnfield engine covered Wakefield Fire Headquarters. There were no injuries during the fire.

All four duty shifts finished their recertification classes to renew their Emergency Medical Technician certificates during the month of May. Ladder One visited the golden Rule pre-school on May 31 much to the delight of the children in attendance. Department members finished their annual pressure testing of all fire hose on Saturdays during the month of May.

April 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 253 emergency incidents during the month of April including 36 box alarms and 217 still alarms.

The Department responded to eight mutual aid requests during April, five times to Stoneham and once each to Melrose, Reading and Saugus. During March it received mutual aid three times, twice from Melrose and once from Stoneham. Wakefield Engine 2 and a crew led by Lt. Brian Purcell responded to a working fire at 61 Stone Street in Saugus during the evening of April 7. A crew led by Lt. Robert Taggart responded to a two-alarm fire at 22 Washington Avenue in Stoneham on the afternoon of April 9th. Another crew led by Lt. Taggart assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at another two-alarm fire at 16 Parkway Road the next evening. A crew with Lt. Brian Purcell responded to a House fire at 12 Cricklewood Drive in Stoneham during the evening of April 25th. Lt. Thomas Purcell led a crew assisting the Melrose Fire Department at a fire in an apartment complex on Nason Drive on April 27. Finally, Lt. Kevin Carney and his crew covered a vacant Stoneham fire station during the afternoon of April 30th while they were tied up at a serious accident in that town.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco and Lieutenant Thomas Purcell responded to a garage fire at 7 Holland Road during the afternoon of April 13. The fire started when a defect in the smoke pipe for a wood stove allowed fire to extend into the structural framing of the detached garage. There were no injuries during this incident and the fire did not extend into the nearby residence.

All four duty shifts began their recertification classes to renew their Emergency Medical Technician certificates during the month of April. Fire drills were conducted in all public and private schools in Wakefield during the last week in April. Girl Scout troops visited Fire Headquarters at the Public Safety Building on April 8th and the Greenwood Fire Station on April 14th. Department members started their annual pressure test of all fire hose on Saturdays during the month of April.

March 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 219 emergency incidents during the month of March including 28 box alarms and 191 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during March, twice to Melrose, twice to Stoneham and once to Middleton. During March it received mutual aid once from Reading. Wakefield Engine two and a crew led by Acting Lt. Philip Preston responded to a two-alarm fire at 25 Williams Street in Stoneham during the early morning of March 1, 2011. Engine two covered the Middleton fire station during a four-alarm explosion and fire at the Bostiks plant on Boston Road during the evening of March 13. Wakefield covered Melrose fire headquarters during a working fire in that city on the evening of March 23. Lt. Thomas Purcell led a crew responding to a two-alarm structure fire at 10 Cherry Avenue in Stoneham during the evening of March 28.

All four duty shifts received a presentation from the New England Organ Bank during March as part of their Emergency Medical Technician continuing education program. Two Wakefield High School Juniors participated in a career shadow day with Chief Sullivan on March 23 where they got an in-depth look at the fire station, protective gear, and equipment utilized by the department. Quarterly fire inspections of all nursing homes, hotels, and rooming houses were also conducted during March.

Wakefield firefighters Daniel Hancock, Dean Marsinelli and Kevin Wesley graduated from a Class 190 of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy recruit training program on March 25 at a ceremony held at the Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School in Marlborough. All three firefighters are now certified to the level of Firefighter I/II after completion of this 12-week training program and will be returning to their respective groups. We wish them a long and productive career with the Wakefield Fire Department.

February 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 242 emergency incidents during the month of February including 40 box alarms and 202 still alarms.

The Department responded to four mutual aid requests during February, once each to Melrose, Lynn, Saugus and Reading. During February it received mutual aid twice from Lynnfield. Wakefield Engine Two covered a Lynn Fire station during the morning of February 11 during a three alarm fire in that city. Lt. Robert Taggart led a crew responding to a structure fire at the Resco trash facility in Saugus during the early morning of February 14. Lieutenant Kevin Carney and a crew from Engine Two assist the Reading Fire Department at a two-alarm fire at 133 West Street.

Department members spent the first half of February digging out fire hydrants buried by the large storm in January and several subsequent storms. The cold weather caused numerous calls for service for water related problems stemming from frozen pipes and ice dams. The snow pack has been gradually melting and hopefully will not cause many flooding related issues as we enter March.

All four duty shifts were recertified in CPR and the use of semi-automatic defibrillators during the month of February. The American Red Cross made a presentation to each shift as part of their Community Partner outreach program. The Wakefield Fire Department was notified by the Department of Homeland Security that it will be the recipient of a 2010 Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $99,000.00. This grant will be used to purchase 36 new UHF portable radios and 9 new UHF mobile radios for the department’s vehicles. This grant is instrumental in assisting the department meet a federal regulation requiring that all public agency radio equipment be FCC Project 25 compliant or “narrow band” capable by the end of 2012.

January 2011

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 316 emergency incidents during the month of January including 33 box alarms and 283 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during January, twice to Saugus, twice to Lynnfield and once to Stoneham. During January it received mutual aid once from Reading. Wakefield Engine Two covered a Lynnfield Fire station during the early morning of January 2 while that community dealt with downed power lines and residential electrical services in a neighborhood. Lt. Robert Taggart led a crew responding to a three-alarm house fire at 183 Lincoln Street in Saugus during the morning of January 16. Sadly, an adult male died as a result of this fire. Lieutenant Kevin Carney and a crew from Engine Two retuned to Saugus during the afternoon of January 30 to assist that community at a two-alarm fire at 191 Hamilton Street. The department assisted Stoneham fire at a two-alarm restaurant fire at 423 Main Street earlier in the day on January 30.

The Town was hit by a significant snow storm on January 12. At least 16 inches of snow fell during this time and Governor Patrick declared a state of emergency to insure that all necessary resources were in place during the storm. Fortunately there were no serious incidents that occurred during this period. This storm came only three weeks after another large storm in December, burying fire hydrants and creating narrow street conditions. Department members have been busy digging out as many hydrants as possible as the current weather track promises to dump more snow on the town as the winter progresses. The cold weather has also resulted in increased calls for service for water related problems stemming from burst and frozen pipes.

Wakefield Firefighters Daniel Hancock, Dean Marsinelli and Kevin Wesley began a twelve-week recruit training program with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on January 3 with an anticipated graduation date of March 25th. The cold weather and heavy snowfall this winter have made this class even more challenging than usual.

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