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December 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 294 emergency incidents during the month of December including 40 box alarms and 254 still alarms.

The Department responded to four requests for mutual aid during December, twice to Stoneham, once to Melrose and once to Saugus. It received mutual aid five times in December, twice from Stoneham and once each from Reading, Lynnfield and Melrose.

Crews led by Captain Joseph Riley responded to a fire inside a nail salon at 405 Lowell Street during the early evening of December 10. The fire was started by a candle left too close to an upholstered chair. Fortunately the fire was contained to the chair although it did generate a significant smoke condition inside the store.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson assisted the homeowner at 11 Crystal Street with a chimney fire during the afternoon of December 29. The fire was confined to the chimney flue area. And the residents were able to remain in the home.

Crews under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to Farmland at 415 Main Street during the early morning of December 22 to rescue an employee who had his arm trapped in a piece of machinery in the kitchen area. Fire crews were able to free the man in approximately 5 minutes using cutters from the ”Jaws of Life” extrication equipment carried on the apparatus. The man was treated and transported to a Boston hospital by Action Ambulance paramedics. The employee’s arm was able to be saved though the efforts and close teamwork of Wakefield firefighters, Action Ambulance paramedics and hospital staff.

The department received 50 firefighter self-rescue “bail out” rope kits as part of the 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program funded by the Department of Homeland Security. This grant program funds approximately 90% of the cost of these kits with the remaining 10% being funded through the department’s capital outlay budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Department members will receive training in the proper use of these kits prior to their distribution.

November 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 284 emergency incidents during the month of November including 36 box alarms and 248 still alarms.

The Department responded to six requests for mutual aid during November, twice to Lynnfield, twice to Reading and once each to Stoneham and Ipswich. It received mutual aid two times in November, once from Reading and once from Lynnfield. Lieutenant Michael Long, along with a crew from Engine 1, covered a Lynnfield fire station during an incident in that community during the afternoon of November 13. Another Engine 1 crew under Lieutenant Chris Smith covered Reading Fire Headquarters during a 2-alarm fire at 86 Forest Street in that community during the evening of November 22. Lieutenant Michael Long and his crew returned to Reading and covered their headquarters during a working fire in that community during the morning of November 29.

A crew from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Joseph Albert assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a stubborn 3-alarm fire at 38 Pleasant Street during the Thanksgiving afternoon.

Captain Paul Pronco and Lieutenant Michael Long responded along with other members of the Essex County Technical Rescue Team to an incident in Ipswich during the morning of November 19. This incident involved a trench collapse at 134 County Road that trapped a worker until he could be extricated by team members.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson assisted employees at the Rock Tenn facility located at 365 Audubon Road extinguish a fire in a cardboard corrugating machine during the evening of November 5. The fire started when cardboard stock being loaded into the machine jammed and ignited. The fire was contained to the machine causing more than $10,000 in damage. Firefighters faced significant challenges fighting the fire due to the immense size of the building and the difficulties encountered venting smoke from such a large structure. Firefighters and plant employees worked together very effectively thereby preventing a much more serious incident.

All groups received training in vehicle extrication techniques during November. The Department took delivery of 3,000 feet of fire hose as part of a $50,000 grant award from the Department of Homeland Security. An additional 5,600 feet of fire hose was received under the same grant in October. This hose will replace worn out hose that has passed its useful service life. The grant paid for 90% of the total cost for this hose.

October 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 261 emergency incidents during the month of October including 39 box alarms and 222 still alarms.

The Department responded to six requests for mutual aid during October, twice to Lynnfield, twice to Saugus and once each to Reading and Melrose. It received mutual aid two times in October from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Robert Taggart assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of their working fire at 17 Biscayne Avenue during the early afternoon of October 24 when a brush fire extended to the exterior of a residence at that location. Crews had just returned from that incident when Lt. Phil Preston and a crew from Engine 1 were sent to Lynnfield to help that department battle an extensive brush fire off of Stafford Road.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson assisted employees at Honey Dew Donuts at 386 Main Street control a small fire caused by a toaster oven that was accidentally left on. The fire scorched the area behind the oven and created a minor smoke condition in the restaurant. Captain Richard Smith led fire crews during a small but smoky fire stove fire at 35 Park Avenue during the afternoon of October 30. Fire damage was limited to the stove area however the entire residence suffered considerable smoke damage.

The department conducted fire drills in all public and private school buildings in Wakefield during the month of October. Multi-hazard evacuation drills were also conducted at the Odyssey day School, the Greenwood School, the Wakefield Memorial High School and the Dolbeare School. All department vehicles received their registry sticker inspections during October. All groups received emergency medical training in accordance with their continuing education requirements for Emergency Medical Technician during October.

Fire Prevention week is in October and that brought lots of groups to the department for tours. The Canterbury Children’s School visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on October 7 and 8. Greenwood School Kindergarten classes visited the Greenwood Fire Station on October 15 and 16. Ladder 1 visited the Children’s Center at 483 Water Street on October 3. A group of pre-school age children and their parents from the Family Resource Network visited Fire Headquarters on October 26.

Veteran Firefighter Eugene D. Doucette Jr. retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on October 2, 2013 after serving the department more than 36 years. Doucette was appointed a Permanent Firefighter on May 5, 1977. Firefighter Doucette was the senior firefighter in the department at the time of his retirement. The department wishes Firefighter Doucette a long and healthy retirement with his family. Firefighter Shane Brown resigned from the department on October 17 to pursue a career with the Cambridge Fire Department. We wish Shane a long and productive career in the fire service.

The department took delivery of 5,600 feet of fire hose as part of a $50,000 grant award from the Department of Homeland Security. This hose will replace worn out hose that has passed its useful service life. The grant paid for 90% of the total cost for this hose.

September 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 275 emergency incidents during the month of September including 40 box alarms and 235 still alarms.

The Department responded to two requests for mutual aid during September, once to Melrose and once to Stoneham. It received mutual aid three times in September, all from Stoneham.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson assisted a resident at 29 Crescent Street during the evening of September 11 who had fallen asleep with food on the stove. The fire did not extend beyond the stove but did create an extensive smoke condition throughout the apartment. Captain Thomas Purcell led fire crews during a small but smoky fire involving a computer laptop at 68 Chestnut Street during the evening of September 14. Crews under the direction of Captain Paul Pronco assisted residents at 389 Main Street during another stove fire that occurred at 389 Main Street during the early morning of September 26. Damage at all three of these incidents was limited to the immediate area of origin and there were no injuries reported.

The department conducted fire drills in all public and private school buildings in Wakefield. during the month of September. Multi-hazard evacuation drills were also conducted at the Galvin Middle School, the Walton School, Nazareth Academy, and the Woodville School. All department vehicles received their registry sticker inspections during September. The department conducted its annual test of all of its ground ladders during the month of September. The main aerial ladder for the ladder truck was also tested and successfully passed inspection. All groups received emergency medical training in accordance with their continuing education requirements for Emergency Medical Technician during September.

August 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 290 emergency incidents during the month of August including 35 box alarms and 255 still alarms.

The Department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during August, three times to Melrose, three times to Lynnfield, and once to Reading. It received mutual aid once in August from Lynnfield. A crew under Lt. Christopher Smith covered Reading Fire Headquarters while that department was tied up at an incident during the early afternoon of August 20. Lieutenant Smith and the same crew responded to Lynnfield shortly after returning from Reading on the afternoon of August 20 and assisted that department at their working fire at the DPW facility in the rear of 59 Summer Street.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco extinguished a fire in a 22-foot recreational boat in the parking lot of the Colonial Point Apartment Building located at 95 Audubon Road during the early morning of August 4. The fire caused extensive damage to the boat and appeared to be intentionally set. Captain Pronco and Lieutenant Sean Curran led another group of fire fighters at a fire involving and MBTA bus on North Avenue during the afternoon of August 14. This fire was caused by a malfunction in the engine compartment of the bus.

All four groups conducted a walk-thru of the newly constructed residential buildings at the Market Street development just over the town line in Lynnfield, behind the Sheraton Colonial Hotel. This tour is part of an ongoing process to acquaint the Lynnfield and Wakefield Fire Departments with significant properties located on the Wakefield-Lynnfield Town Line. The department conducted its annual pumping test of its three fire engines in August.

Veteran Wakefield Fire Lieutenant Kevin P. Carney retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on August 15 after serving more than 36 years with the department. Lieutenant Carney was appointed a permanent firefighter on August 6, 1977. He was appointed Fire Lieutenant on April 17, 2003. At the time of his retirement, Lieutenant Carney was the senior Lieutenant on the department. We thank Lieutenant Carney for his many years of service and wish him a long and healthy retirement with his family.

Wakefield Firefighter Christopher Scott completed a 45 day recruit training program with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Class 200, graduating from the Academy on August 30, 2013. We wish Firefighter Scott a successful career with the Wakefield Fire Department.

July 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 279 emergency incidents during the month of July including 42 box alarms and 237 still alarms.

The Department responded to six requests for mutual aid during July, three times to Melrose, and once each to Lynnfield, Reading and Winchester. It received mutual aid twice in July from Stoneham. A crew under Lt. Robert Taggart covered Winchester Fire headquarters while that department was tied up at a 3-alarm house fire during the morning of July 3.

Crews under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to an oven fire at Farmland during the early morning of July 4. The fire was confined to the oven but created a considerable smoke condition in the store. Sadly, Wakefield firefighters recovered the body of an elderly woman who had drowned in Crystal Lake during the afternoon of July 27.

The department conducted quarterly fire inspections in school buildings, nursing homes, boarding houses and hotels during the month of July. All groups conducted a walk through of the new condominium building at 109 Hopkins Street. Ladder 1 visited the odyssey day School on July 9 and children participating in the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department Youth summer program visited the Public Safety Building on July 10.

Wakefield Firefighter Christopher Scott began a 45 day recruit training program with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Class 200 on July 1 with an anticipated graduation date of August 30.

June 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 291 emergency incidents during the month of June including 27 box alarms and 264 still alarms.

The Department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during June, three times to Melrose, three times to Lynnfield and once to Stoneham. It received mutual aid one time in June from Melrose. A crew under Lt. Phil Preston covered a Lynnfield Fire station while that department was tied up at multiple incidents during the afternoon of June 15.

All groups continued to work on their Emergency Medical Technician refresher training during the month of June and took additional courses for the required continuing education credits required for them to maintain their certifications. All department personnel conducted drills with the department’s two boats during the month of June. Ladder one visited the kindergarten and preschool children at the Dolbeare, Walton and Woodville schools where the children enjoyed washing the truck with the firefighters.

May 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 276 emergency incidents during the month of May including 44 box alarms and 232 still alarms.

The Department responded to six requests for mutual aid during May, three times to Melrose, two times to Saugus and once to Lynnfield. It received mutual aid nineteen times in May, four times from Reading, three times each from Stoneham and Lynnfield, twice each from North Reading, Melrose and Woburn and once from Malden. A crew under Acting Lt. Christopher Crogan assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at a working fire at 2 Horseshoe Drive in that community during the morning of May 8. Lt. Brian Purcell and a crew from engine 4 covered Melrose Fire headquarters during a working fire in that community during the afternoon of May 14. Lt. Kevin Carney and a crew from Engine 4 assisted the Saugus fire department at a working roof fire at the RESCO Plant during the evening of May 29. Engine 4 along with firefighters under Lt. Robert Taggart responded to a working fire at 25 Cheever Avenue in Saugus during the afternoon of May 31.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a single alarm house fire at 63 Gould Street during the evening hours of May 9. The fire spread extended to the first floor before it was contained. The exact cause of this accidental fire has not been determined as it is still being investigated. The Wakefield Fire Department was called back to 63 Gould Street at 12:50 A.M. on May 10 for a report of a structure fire. The department arrived to find a large fire at the front section of the home. This second fire required a second alarm response and severely damaged the home. The fire was determined to be a re-kindle of the previous fire due to the absence of any other cause. The family will be displaced from this home for an extended period until the home is either repaired or replaced. The entire department regrets this apparent re-kindle and the subsequent loss that it has caused the family.

Captain Riley led another group of firefighters on May 16 to a reported structure fire at 330 Rear Salem Street. Firefighters arrived to find a heavy fire condition in the rear of the residence. The fire was quickly contained to the rear wall of the residence and adjoining rooms. One firefighter was injured during the fire, suffering from heat exhaustion while battling the fire in summer-like temperatures. The home was extensively damaged as a result of the fire, displacing all five building occupants. The cause of the fire is officially undetermined although the careless disposal of smoking materials is strongly suspected to be a factor in the ignition of this fire.

All groups continued to work on their Emergency Medical Technician refresher training during the month of May. This 24-hour class is a required part of the continuing education for an Emergency Medical Technician and must be completed every two years. All department personnel conducted a site visit to the newly finished Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department facility at 480 North Avenue. The department successfully completed its annual testing of fire hose during May. Fire drills were conducted in all public and private school buildings in Wakefield during the month of May. Groups from Parents of Tots and American Training toured Wakefield Fire Headquarters on May 17 and May 24 respectively.

Wakefield Firefighter Dean Marsinelli resigned from the Wakefield Fire Department effective May 31, 2013 to pursue other career interests. Firefighter Marsinelli was appointed a Permanent Wakefield Firefighter on August 5, 2010. We thank Firefighter Marsinelli for his service to the department and wish him luck on his future endeavors.

April 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 299 emergency incidents during the month of April including 53 box alarms and 246 still alarms.

The Department responded to fourteen requests for mutual aid during April, six times to Melrose, four times to Lynnfield, two times to Saugus and once each to Reading and Stoneham. It received mutual aid five times in April, three times from Stoneham and once from Reading and Melrose. A crew under Lt. Brain Purcell assisted the Saugus Fire Department at a working fire at 5 Shore Road in that community during the morning of April 6, 2013. The same crew from Engine 2 returned to Saugus that night to assist at a 2-alarm brush fire on Bristol Street. Engine 1 and a crew under the command of Acting Lt. Christopher Crogan covered a vacant Lynnfield fire station during a fire in that town on the evening of April 14. Engine 2 along with firefighters under Lt. Robert Taggart responded to a 2-alarm fire at 25 Williams Street in Stoneham during the afternoon of April 15.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a porch fire at 6 Nichols Street during the early morning hours of April 20. The fire spread quickly due to high wind conditions but was contained to the area of the porch flooring and railings due to the quick work of the responding firefighters. The fire was determined to be accidental but the exact cause was not identified. The residents of this home were not displaced as a result of the fire and there were no reported injuries.

All groups continued to work on their Emergency Medical Technician refresher training during the month of April. This 24-hour class is a required part of the continuing education for an Emergency Medical Technician and must be completed every two years. Each duty group also received a presentation on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). All groups completed quarterly inspections of all nursing homes, schools, hotels and boarding homes in Wakefield during the month of April. All department personnel conducted a site visit to the newly finished Legacy Park Building B located at 105 Hopkins Street adjacent to Route 128/95 near the Reading town line. A Girl Scouts troop toured the Wakefield Fire Department Headquarters during the afternoon of April 5.

March 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 267 emergency incidents during the month of March including 35 box alarms and 232 still alarms.

The Department responded to five requests for mutual aid during March, twice to Lynn, and once each to Reading, Saugus and Lynnfield. It received mutual aid four times in March, three times from Stoneham and once from Reading. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Reading Fire Headquarters during a fire in that community on the afternoon of March 2. A crew under the command of Lt. Robert Taggart covered a vacant Lynn fire station during a fire in that city on the evening of March 3. Engine 2 covered a vacant Lynnfield fire station during a 2-alarm fire on Lowell Street in that community on March 12. Lt. Brian Purcell and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Saugus Fire Department 2-alarm fire at 17 Taylor Street in Saugus on the evening of March 20. Wakefield engine 2 returned to the City of Lynn during an early morning 3-alarm fire in that city on March 25.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a stove top kitchen fire at 93 Albion Street on March 10. The fire was contained to the immediate area of the stove and some adjoining cabinets. The fire started when cooking oil on the top of the stove overheated and ignited. The residents of this group home were displaced for a short period while the home was cleaned up. There were no reported injuries.

The same group of firefighters responded to another potentially serious fire at 9 Nichols Street on March 16. The fire, ignited by hot ashes placed inside a plastic recycling bin, extended to some nearby combustibles and exterior siding of the home before being extinguished. There were no injuries and no one was displaced as a result of the fire.

Captain Hudson’s group was called into action a third time in march when they responded to a reported house fire at 22 Ledgewood Road on March 22. Firefighters arrived to find a fire inside a flue pipe for a wood pellet stove. The flue was taken apart and the fire was confined to the area of the pellet stove. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries at this fire as well.

All groups have initiated their on-line Emergency Medical Technician refresher training that they will be continuing for the next several months. This 24 hour class is a required part of the continuing education for an Emergency Medical Technician and must be completed every two years. A Girl Scout troop received an informative tour during a visit to fire headquarters on March 16.

February 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 234 emergency incidents during the month of February including 30 box alarms and 204 still alarms.

The Department responded to four requests for mutual aid during February, twice to Saugus, and once each to Melrose and Lynnfield. It did not receive any mutual aid in February. Wakefield Engine 2 covered a vacant Lynnfield station during an incident involving a leak in a high pressure gas main on the morning of February 27.

Winter storm Nemo struck the area on February 8-9, depositing some 27 inches of snow throughout the town. The storm created blizzard conditions, with high winds and heavy snowfall exceeding several inches an hour creating near white-out conditions. Governor Deval Patrick declared a State of Emergency as well as a ban of all non-essential traffic on all roads throughout the state. The town instituted a parking ban on all streets for most of the weekend. Wakefield implemented its Emergency Plan as the DPW struggled to keep the streets passable. Employees from the Fire, Police, DPW, Light and School Departments worked closely together to help insure the safety of Wakefield’s citizens. There were very few power outages during the storm. Fire hydrants were dug out by Fire and DPW crews until relatively warmer temperatures resulted in a significant snow melt. There was no reported damage to any public facility and no one was injured during the storm.

All department members were recertified in current CPR techniques during the month of February.

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services issued an advisory to all fire departments in the state reminding them that the life expectancy for carbon monoxide detectors is 5-7 years. This is significant as Massachusetts first enacted a law requiring these detectors in most residential occupancies in March of 2006. As a result, detectors installed after this law was passed are now reaching the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. The department has already seen an increase in the number of responses related to carbon monoxide detectors activating. It is important to note that once the detector has reached the end of its useful life it will continue to beep even after the battery is changed.

January 2013

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 265 emergency incidents during the month of January including 44 box alarms and 221 still alarms.

The Department responded to four requests for mutual aid during January, twice to Melrose, and once each to Saugus and Lynn. It received mutual aid ten times in January, three times from Stoneham and once each from Reading, Melrose, Lynnfield, North Reading, Malden, Woburn and Saugus. Wakefield Engine 2 with a crew led by Lieutenant Kevin Carney responded to a working fire at 6 Athens Drive in Saugus during the evening of January 3. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Lynn’s Fayette Street station during a 3-alarm fire in that city on the morning of January 22. Wakefield Engine 2 and a crew led by Lieutenant Joseph Albert responded to a 2-alarm fire at 18 Lynde Street in Melrose during the evening of January 26.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a serious fire at the Northeast Regional Vocational School during the evening of January 8. Upon their arrival, they found a large fire underway in the carpentry shop. The 2-alarm fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage to the shop area and the roof immediately over it, requiring mutual aid from seven communities to extinguish it. There were no injuries as a result of the fire; however, the carpentry shop will remain closed until extensive repairs can be made. The fire is believed to have started when a spark from a tool or machinery in the carpentry area was sucked up into the shop’s dust collection system, igniting flammable dust inside the collection bags and duct work. The fire was made difficult to fight because the ductwork and roof had to be opened up to access the fire, a very labor intensive effort. The lack of a sprinkler system in the school also played a major role in the size of the fire and the damage caused by it.

Crews led by Captain Paul Pronco responded to a reported roof fire at 338 Rear Main Street on the morning of January 28. A roof-top heating unit malfunctioned and caught fire before being extinguished by workers using a portable extinguisher. Damage was confined to the heating unit on the roof. Smoke was vented from the top floor of the building and no occupied areas were damaged.

A fire in the attic of a residence at 9 Butternut Road was quickly contained by crews led by Captain Randy Hudson during the early morning of January 30. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in origin. Fire damage was contained to the attic area and the second floor ceiling immediately below the fire. The family was able to remain in the residence after the fire.

A dog that had wandered onto Crystal Lake and fell through the ice was rescued by crews under the command of Captain Paul Pronco during the morning of January 26. Firefighters arrived to find the dog with its head resting on the ice shelf in the lake. The rescue boat was launched immediately and the dog was removed from the water within 5 minutes. The dog appeared to be unharmed by the incident and its owner used good judgment in not trying to rescue the dog himself.

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