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December 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 270 emergency incidents during the month of December including 35 box alarms and 235 still alarms.

The Department responded to four requests for mutual aid during December, twice to Saugus, and once each to Lynnfield and Reading. It received mutual aid twelve times in December, twice each from Reading, North Reading, Malden, Melrose and Stoneham and once from Woburn and Lynnfield. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Reading Fire Headquarters during the morning of December 1 during an incident in that community. The Wakefield Fire Department assisted the Saugus Fire Department at a working fire at 12 Guild Road during the evening of December 6. Wakefield Engine 2 returned to Saugus to assist that department at another working fire at 59 Holland Street during the early morning of December 31.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a report of a house fire at 52 Lake Street during the morning of December 2. Upon their arrival, they found a large fire underway on the second and third floors. The 3-alarm fire devastated the two-family home, requiring mutual aid from eight communities to extinguish it. There were no injuries as a result of the fire however the six residents will be displaced for an indefinite period of time while the home is re-built or completely replaced. The exact cause of the fire could not be determined due to the extent of the fire damage but is has been ruled accidental with the cause of the fire strongly suspected to be electrical.

photo by Doug Boudrow

Wakefield Firefighters Sean Giampa, Gerald Sancinito and Shane Brown received letters of commendation for their efforts in assisting a patron at the LA Fitness Center in Stoneham while off-duty during the evening of December 19. An adult male collapsed suddenly while working out at this gym and these men went to his aid immediately, performing CPR and successfully utilizing the facility’s semi-automatic defibrillator to re-establish a viable heart rhythm for the man.

Four Wakefield Firefighters, Sean Curran, Christopher Smith, Michael Long and Philip Preston were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on December 28, 2012. The promotions were made as part of a re-organization of the department’s command structure negotiated as part of the recent collective bargaining agreement between the Town of Wakefield and the local firefighters union. The shift captain will now be assigned to a car and the four new lieutenants will be assigned as company officers on Engine 1, the headquarters engine. The change will meet National Incident Management Standards required by the federal government and will allow for better accountability and control of emergency incidents as the shift captain will no longer be both the company officer for Engine 1 and the overall Incident Commander. Many other departments of similar size and make-up to Wakefield already employ this system. All four men are experienced firefighters and the department looks forward to working with them as they start their new assignments on January 1, 2013.

November 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to emergency incidents during the month of November including 32 box alarms and 242 still alarms.

The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during November, twice to Melrose, twice to reading and once to Saugus. It received mutual aid two times in November, once from Reading and once from Stoneham. Wakefield Engine 2 covered the Melrose Fire Headquarters during a fire in that city during the morning of November 5. The Wakefield Fire Department assisted the Reading Fire Department at a basement fire at 132 Village Street during the early morning of November 14. Wakefield Engine 2 and a crew under the command of Lt. Kevin Carney assisted the Town of Saugus at the scene of a major natural gas line rupture at 17 Pine Street during the morning of November 26. Wakefield engine 2 covered Reading Fire headquarters during a second alarm fire in that community during the afternoon of November 29.

All four groups continue to receive emergency medical training toward their continuing education requirements for emergency medical technician. Wakefield firefighters received refresher training on the proper use of the Hurst tool (Jaws of Life) and air bags.

Ladder 1 visited the St. Joseph’s School at 15 Gould Street during the morning of November 6 and gave a fire safety to several classes of children. Cub Scouts groups visited fire headquarters during the afternoon of November 7 and the evening of November 29.

Veteran Wakefield Firefighter Robert F. Brown retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on November 14, 2012 after serving the department for 31 years and the Town of Wakefield for more than 40 years. A Wakefield native, brown was appointed a full-time permanent Firefighter on April 16, 1981. During his career he worked on several of the department’s groups and at the time of his retirement he was assigned as the senior firefighter to Group # 4 under Captain Paul Pronco. We thank Bob for his service to the department and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

Two new Wakefield Firefighters were also hired during the month of November. Shane M. Brown and Christopher D. Scott, both originally from Wakefield, were appointed Permanent Wakefield Firefighters on November 15, 2012. these two positions filled vacancies created by the retirement of Firefighter Robert brown, Shane’s dad, and a position that became vacant when the Fire Prevention Officer Captain’s position was re-instated and subsequent promotions were made to Captain and Lieutenant to fill the position. Firefighter Brown is a veteran with the Army National Guard and Firefighter Scott served four years with the United States Coast Guard. Both men are excellent firefighter candidates and the department looks forward to working with them as they start their new careers in the fire service.

October 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 294 emergency incidents during the month of October including 51 box alarms and 243 still alarms.

The department had no requests for mutual aid during October. It received mutual aid two times in October, once from Reading and once from Lynnfield.

All four groups continue to receive emergency medical training toward their continuing education requirements for emergency medical technician. Wakefield firefighters received refresher training on the proper use of the Hurst tool (Jaws of Life) and air bags. The Wakefield Fire Department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of October. School multi-hazard evacuation drills were conducted at Odyssey school, Wakefield High School, the Dolbeare School and the Northeast Regional Vocational School during the month of October.

Ladder 1 visited the Children’s Center at 483 Water Street during the morning of October 9. Preschool children from the Canterbury children’s center visited Wakefield fire headquarters during the mornings of October 16 and 17. Kindergarten classes from the Greenwood Elementary School visited the Greenwood Fire station on October 18 and October 30. A group from the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network visited headquarters on October 27.

Hurricane Sandy hit the State of Massachusetts hard on October 29, knocking down numerous trees and power lines. The Wakefield Fire Department and Police Departments worked closely with crews from the Department of Public Works and the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department to keep the streets open and accessible and the power on. Although there were several scattered power outages during the storm, all but a few households had power restored within a few hours. There were no reported injuries or citizens displaced as a result of this storm. The value of having its own power company once again worked in the best interest of Wakefield residents as thousands of electric customers throughout the state experienced multiple day power outages. Wakefield executed its emergency plans for Hurricane Sandy flawlessly and all Wakefield residents should be proud of the way their town employees pulled together and handled this storm.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake struck the New England area on October 16 at 7:12 P.M. Fortunately there was no damage reported and no injuries related to this restively rare event.

September 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 237 emergency incidents during the month of September including 27 box alarms and 210 still alarms.

The department responded to three mutual aid requests during September, twice to Melrose and once to Reading. It received mutual aid eight times during September, twice from Stoneham and once from Reading, Melrose, Lynnfield, North Reading, Woburn and Saugus. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Reading Fire Headquarters during the evening of September 12 during a structure fire in that community.

photo by Stephen Walsh

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a fast spreading fire at 9 Anjim Lane during the afternoon of September 16. The 2-alarm house fire started in a concealed ceiling and wall area over the side porch. The fire extended up the side of the house and into several adjoining rooms before it was extinguished thanks to the fast and efficient work by both on-duty personnel and mutual aid companies. Thanks to their hard work the house was saved, although it was significantly damaged. The fire was determined to be accidental in origin although the exact cause remains undetermined. There were no injuries as a result of the fire; however, the homeowners will be displaced as a result of the fire until repairs can be made. Three pet dogs were rescued from the residence during the fire.

All four groups participated in a joint training program with the Reading Fire Department on engine-company pumping operations during the month of September. This training is partially funded through a federal Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant via the Department of Homeland Security. All four groups continue to receive emergency medical training toward their continuing education requirements for emergency medical technician. All fire department ground ladders were tested and successfully passed inspection during the month of September. All department vehicles successfully passed the state motor vehicle registry inspections. The Wakefield Fire Department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of September. School multi-hazard evacuation drills were conducted at Nazareth Academy, the Galvin Middle School, and the Woodville, Walton and Greenwood Schools during the month of September.

Wakefield firefighters Nolan Curran, Patrick Jarvis and Michael Rowe successfully graduated from the twelve week Massachusetts Firefighting Academy recruit training class 196 on September 28, 2012 during a ceremony held at the Stow campus on that date. The Wakefield Fire Department welcomes these firefighters back and wishes them a long and productive career with the department. The Wakefield Fire Department has initiated its annual in-service fire inspection program throughout town and all four duty shifts have been out walking through businesses gathering emergency contact information, familiarizing themselves with building layouts and discovering and reporting fire prevention hazards and violations. The department’s new Fire Prevention Officer, Captain Thomas Purcell, inspected all restaurants with liquor licenses during the past six weeks. Many hazardous conditions have already been corrected increasing the general safety of both Wakefield’s firefighters and its citizens.

August 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 264 emergency incidents during the month of August including 33 box alarms and 231 still alarms.

The department responded to five mutual aid requests during August, three times to Melrose and once each to Reading and Saugus. It received mutual aid four times during August, twice from Melrose and once from Reading and Stoneham. Wakefield Engine 2 along with a crew under the command of Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded to a 2-alarm house fire at 40 Auburn Street in the City of Melrose during the evening of August 2. Wakefield Engine 2 covered a vacant fire station in the Town of reading during a working fire in that community on August 5. Crews from Engine 1 and Ladder 1 under the command of Captain Richard Smith responded to Breakhart Reservation along with the fire boat to assist the Saugus Fire Department in the search for and recovery of an adult male that drowned in one of the lakes in the reservation.

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 25 Bartley Street during the afternoon of August 5. Fire crews under the command of Captain Paul Pronco extinguished a fire on the rear wall of the residence caused when smoking materials ignited some trash in this area. Fortunately, the fire was contained to the rear wall and porch of the home as well as a nearby parked car and no occupants were displaced as a result of the fire. Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a motor vehicle accident on Route 128 South at exit 42 during the early morning of August 16, where they extricated one of the vehicle operators using the Jaws of Life.

All four groups participated in emergency medical training towards their continuing education requirements for maintaining their certification as Emergency Medical Technicians. All department members had their self-contained breathing apparatus air masks fit-tested during the week of August 13 to insure they were the properly sized and maintained a good seal. The department’s three pumping engines were tested and successfully passed their annual pumping inspections on August 29.

The Wakefield Fire Department re-instated the position of Fire prevention officer as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget. Lieutenant Thomas Purcell was consequently promoted to Captain and assigned as the department’s new Fire prevention officer on August 22. Wakefield firefighter Joseph Albert was promoted to Lieutenant on the same date to fill Captain Purcell’s former position. The department is in the process of hiring a replacement firefighter for Lieutenant Albert plus an additional firefighter to replace a pending retirement.

July 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 277 emergency incidents during the month of July including 45 box alarms and 232 still alarms.

The department responded to four mutual aid requests during July, twice to Melrose and once each to Reading and Woburn. It received mutual aid twice during July, once from Melrose and once from Reading. Wakefield Engine 2 covered a vacant fire station in the City of Woburn during the evening of July 16 during a tanker rollover on Route 128. This tanker incident, occurring almost exactly one year after the tanker crash and explosion that occurred last year in Saugus on Route 1, serves as a sobering reminder of the hazard that traffic transporting hazardous materials on our highways represents. Lieutenant Thomas Purcell and a crew covered the Melrose Fire headquarters for a brief period during the afternoon of July 18 during their working fire at 170 Laurel Street. This Melrose fire occurred during a severe lightning storm that resulted in 17 calls for fire alarm activations and trees down in Wakefield during a 90 minutes period.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded twice to the same residence at 17 Old Colony Drive for lightning strikes. The first time the home was struck was during the evening of July 4 when the home suffered damage to its electrical system. Incredibly, the home was struck a second time two weeks later during another storm on July 18. this time the chimney was struck blasting a hole in it near the top throwing bricks all over the side yard and damaging the electrical system a second time. Fortunately, the home owners were not injured during either incident and were not displaced.

All four groups participated in emergency medical training towards their continuing education requirements for maintaining their certification as Emergency Medical Technicians. All Department regulators, air masks, and self-contained breathing apparatus were flow-tested to insure that they were in good working order. The department’s air compressor, used to re-fill breathing air for its self-contained breathing apparatus, was tested and certified for air quality during July. A large group of children from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Academy visited Wakefield Fire and Police Headquarters on July 18.

Wakefield Firefighters Nolan Curran, Patrick Jarvis and Michael Rowe began a twelve week-week training program with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on July 9 with an anticipated graduation date of September 28.

June 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 269 emergency incidents during the month of June including 41 box alarms and 228 still alarms.

The department responded to three mutual aid requests during June, twice to Lynnfield and once to the city of Lawrence. It received mutual aid twice during June, once from Lynnfield and once from Reading. Captain Paul Pronco and Firefighter Michael Long responded with other members of the Essex County Technical Rescue Team during the evening of June 11 to assist with the rescue of a man from a bridge in that city.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a fire at 22 Cedar Street during the morning of June 25. The fire was ignited when a section of the roof was struck by lightning. The fire was contained to the immediate area of the lightning strike and caused some damage to the home’s electrical system. There were no injuries and the homeowners were not displaced as a result of the fire.

All four groups participated in a joint training program with the Reading Fire Department on emergency vehicle operation during the month of June. This grant is funded through a federal Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant via the Department of Homeland Security. Ladder one visited the kindergarten classes at the Woodville, Walton and Dolbeare Schools during the month of June to the delight of the children in attendance. A group of parents and children from Parents of Tots visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on June 25.

May 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 220 emergency incidents during the month of May including 31 box alarms and 189 still alarms.

The Department responded to four mutual aid requests during May, twice to Melrose, once to North Reading and once to Winchester. It received mutual aid three times during May, all three times from Stoneham. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Winchester Fire Headquarters during a three-alarm fire in that community on Copley Street during the morning of May 18. Engine 2 covered the North Reading Fire Department headquarters while that department was tied up at a two-alarm fire during the afternoon of May 27.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a fire at the Guillow’s Plant during the afternoon of May 11. The fire was ignited when sparks from a wood-cutting machine got into the dust-collection system for the plant. The fire was contained to the collection system ductwork adjacent to the area of origin. There were no injuries and the plant suffered minimal damage as a result of the fire. The Wakefield Fire Department responded to a potentially serious bathroom fire at the Wakefield Memorial High School at 60 Farm Street. The fire was intentionally set but was quickly controlled thanks to the quick actions of several faculty members and firefighters were on scene for a few minutes clearing the hallways of smoke. Wakefield Town Meeting approved funding for a new ladder truck, which will take approximately a year to build and outfit. Town meeting also restored the Fire Prevention Officer’s position to the department as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget.

All four groups participated in a joint training program with the Reading Fire Department on aerial ladder trucks during the first week of May. This grant is funded through a federal Assistance to Firefighter’s grant via the Department of Homeland Security. All groups also received continuing education classes towards their Emergency Medical Technician certifications. The Wakefield Fire Department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of May. Ladder one visited the Tall Spire Nursery School on May 24 and 30 to the delight of the children in attendance.

April 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 225 emergency incidents during the month of April including 35 box alarms and 190 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during April, once each to Melrose, North Reading and Saugus and twice to Stoneham. It received mutual aid twice during April, once each from Reading and Stoneham. Wakefield sent several firefighters and the fire boat to Saugus on April 9 to assist that department in battling a brush fire. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during a working fire in that community on April 13. A crew under the command of Acting Lt. Christopher Crogan assisted the North Reading Fire Department at a 2-alarm fire at 41 Linwood Street during the afternoon of April 16. Another crew from Engine 2 covered the Stoneham Fire Department during a large brush fire in that community during the evening of April 17.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco and Lt. Thomas Purcell responded to a fire at 26 Daniel Road during the afternoon of April 29. The fire was ignited when winds fanned some hot discarded fireplace ashes in the rear yard into flames. The fire spread via vegetation to a nearby wooden fence and eventually to an outside storage area. Firefighters arrived just as the flames were starting to crack some windows on the main residence and quickly extinguished the fire. No one was displaced as a result of this fire and there were no injuries. A thirteen year old boy living next door was credited with alerting his mother to the fire, who in turn called 911.

All four groups participated in emergency medical training during the month of April as part of their on-going continuing education for Emergency Medical Technician. Wakefield Girl Scout troops visited fire headquarters on April 10 and 17. A den from Wakefield Cub Scout Pack 712 toured fire headquarters during the evening of April 30.

March 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 263 emergency incidents during the month of March including 39 box alarms and 224 still alarms.

The Department responded to three mutual aid requests during March, once each to Lynn, Melrose and Stoneham. It received mutual aid once during March from Lynnfield. Wakefield Engine 2, along with a crew under acting Lieutenant Ken Lyons, covered a Lynn fire station during a 3-alarm fire in that city during the afternoon of March 16. Another crew from Engine 2 under Lt. Kevin Carney assisted the Stoneham Fire Department during a serious accident during the early morning of March 24.

The month of March had three potentially serious fire incidents that were quickly controlled by on-duty firefighters. Firefighters under the command of Acting Captain Brian Purcell responded to a fire at 217 Albion Street during the afternoon of March 8. The fire was caused when a candle overturned and ignited nearby combustibles in a bedroom. Fortunately fire damage was confined to the area immediately around the candle. There were no injuries and no one was displaced as a result of the fire. Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a kitchen fire at 9 Heather Lane during the afternoon of March 10. No one was hurt and damage was confined to the immediate area of the stove. A fire during the very windy evening of March 20 fanned some hot ashes next to a rear deck into a fast moving fire at 140 Harrison Avenue. Quick work by firefighters under Captain Paul Pronco and Lieutenant Thomas Purcell contained the fire to a small area of the deck.

The unseasonably warm weather in March allowed all four groups to conduct drills with the fire boats on Lake Quannapowitt. A Girl Scout Daisy troop visited fire department headquarters on March 15. The department applied for a $4,500 grant under emergency management for the installation of two new radio consoles in the fire department dispatch and emergency operations center, both located in the Public Safety Building.

February 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 226 emergency incidents during the month of February including 35 box alarms and 191 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during February, twice to Melrose and once each to Lynnfield, Saugus and Stoneham. It received mutual aid two times during the month of February, once each from Stoneham and Reading. Wakefield Engine 2, along with a crew under Lt. Brian Purcell, assisted the Melrose Fire Department at a 2-alarm structure fire at 46 West Emerson Street during the afternoon of February 14. Another crew from Engine 2 under Lt. Brian Purcell assisted the Saugus Fire department at their working fire at 10 Lincoln Court on February 21.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith responded to a chimney fire at 1 Eaton Street during the afternoon of February 24. The fire was caused when heat from a wood stove ignited wood framing around the chimney. Fortunately fire damage was confined to the area immediately around the chimney and adjoining roof. There were no injuries and no one was displaced as a result of the fire. A transformer fire during the very windy afternoon of February 25 ignited a tree and some nearby brush. Firefighters under Lieutenant Thomas Purcell responded and quickly contained the fire in the congested residential area to approximately 400 square feet.

All four duty shifts conducted training drills at the former Verizon building at 451 Main Street as well as the former Ox Bow Pet Shop located at 335 Albion Street during the month of February. The department had an opportunity to train with its new roof saws and other assorted tools during these training sessions and thanks the building owners for their patience and cooperation.

The Wakefield Fire Department added three new firefighters to its ranks on February first when Nolan J. Curran of 23 Grove Street, Patrick J. Jarvis of 94 Elm Street and Michael C. Rowe of 6 Pilgrim Road were sworn in at the Town Clerk’s office. The three firefighters were hired to replace retired Wakefield Firefighter Thomas Curran and Firefighters Phil Rogers and Timothy Robblee, who transferred from the department to join the Chelsea and Malden fire departments. Firefighters Curran and Rowe grew up in Wakefield while Firefighter Jarvis is originally from Gloucester. Their appointment brings the department back to a staffing level of 49. All three firefighters received two weeks of basic training before being assigned to their respective shifts. They will be attending the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit training program in October of this year.

January 2012

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 272 emergency incidents during the month of January including 29 box alarms and 243 still alarms.

The Department responded to five mutual aid requests during January, three times to Saugus and twice to Melrose. It received mutual aid three times during the month of January, once each from Stoneham, Lynnfield and Reading. Wakefield Engine 2, along with a crew under Lt. Robert Taggart, assisted the Saugus Fire Department at a structure fire at 27 Birch Road in Saugus on January 15. Another crew from Engine 2 under Lt. Thomas Purcell responded to Saugus a second time on January 17 for a structure fire at 34 Mount Vernon Street. A crew under the command of Lt. Thomas Purcell responded to a second alarm fire at the Julian Steele House on Nason Drive in Melrose during the evening of January 24. A Crew from Wakefield Engine 2 under the command of Lt Robert Taggart returned to Saugus a third time on January 29 to assist that community at a structure fire at 20 Robinson Street.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a small one-room fire in an apartment building at 15 Crescent Street during the early morning of January 1. The fire, ignited by careless smoking, was fortunately confined to a living room couch and the area immediately around it. There were no injuries and no one was displaced as a result of the fire.

All four duty shifts conducted ice rescue drills on Lake Quannapowitt during the month of January. Wakefield Girl Scout Troop 71460 visited Wakefield fire headquarters on January 30 and had a great time.

The Wakefield Fire Department was notified that it will be the recipient of two Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG). The first AFG grant is for $20,700 and will be used to replace the department’s fire hose nozzles. The town is required to provide a 10% local share ($2,070) in order to receive this grant. The second AFG grant is a regional training award with the Reading Fire department to provide for training packages on engine company operations, ladder company operations and emergency vehicle operator. The package has a total award of $111,600 of which Wakefield must pay approximately $5,580 in local share costs. The department is looking forward to replacing its stock of aging hose nozzles and looks forward to the excellent training programs being offered this coming spring and fall of 2012.

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