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December 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 341 emergency incidents during the month of December including 30 box alarms and 311 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during December, one time each to Lynnfield and Melrose. It received mutual aid twice times during the month of December, twice from Lynnfield.

Wakefield received several inches of heavy rain during the evening of December 9-10 causing many basements to flood. The department responded to more than 30 requests to assist residents with water problems, doing its best to assist them with the six pumps that were available. The department also assisted two motorists who drove into deep water on New Salem Street and Quannapowitt Parkway and became stranded.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a dryer fire on the evening of December 29 at 58 Water Street. A fire was discovered by Lt. John Mercurio and the crew of Engine 1 returning to quarters from another call when they spotted smoke coming from the building and radioed for a full response. The smoke was quickly traced to a dryer fire on the second floor and extinguished before it extended outside of the appliance. This fire had the potential to become much more serious as the occupants were not aware of the fire and there were no working smoke detectors inside the building. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

November 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 267 emergency incidents during the month of November including 33 box alarms and 234 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during November, one time each to Saugus, North Reading and Melrose. It received mutual aid four times during the month of November, twice from Stoneham and once each from Reading and Lynnfield. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded to a 2-alarm structure fire at 66 Water Street in Saugus during the morning of November 20. Lieutenant Michael Long along with firefighters from Engine 1 covered the North Reading fire station during a 2-alarm garage fire in that community during the evening of November 30.

Firefighters under the command of Acting Captain Sean Curran responded to a chimney fire on the evening of November 15 at 8 West Park Drive in Wakefield. A fire in a basement wood stove extended into an exterior chimney flue chase where it was quickly contained by firefighters. The residents were able to remain in the home after the fire was extinguished and there were no injuries as a result of the fire.

The department responded to a second chimney fire at 11 Pine Hill Circle on the evening of November 22. Firefighters under Captain Randy Hudson arrived to find fire coming from the top of the chimney. They worked quickly to confine the fire to the chimney itself and the remainder of the house received no fire damage. There were no injuries as a result of this fire and the occupants were able to remain in the home.

A group of Tiger cub scouts from Wakefield Pack 712 visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the evening of November 24.

October 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 299 emergency incidents during the month of October including 29 box alarms and 270 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during October, one time each to Saugus, Lynnfield and Melrose. It did not receive any mutual aid during the month of October. A crew from Engine 2 led from by Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded to a structure fire at 19 Juliet Road in Saugus during the early morning of October 19.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Joseph Riley responded to a potentially serious dryer fire on the morning of October 24 at 894 Main Street in Wakefield. Occupants called to report a heavy smoke condition on the upper floors of the unit. Firefighters quickly found and controlled the fire, which did not extend beyond the immediate area of the dryer. The fire started when an accumulation of lint underneath the dryer ignited. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

Fire drills were conducted in all public and private schools in Wakefield during the month of October. School evacuation drills were conducted at the Doyle School, Wakefield Memorial High School, the Greenwood School, and the Northeast Regional Vocational School during the month of October. The department conducted fire drills on October 7 at the Wakefield Post Office, October 9 at 200 Quannapowitt Parkway and October 19 and 20 at the Beebe Public Library as part of Fire Prevention Month activities. Preschool Children from Canterbury Children’s Center visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the mornings of October 6 and 7. Kindergarten children from the Greenwood Elementary School visited the Greenwood Fire Station during the morning of October 28.

All duty groups continue to receive their on-going training in emergency medical procedures. The department’s entire inventory of ground ladders were inspected and tested during the month of October. The department participated in a regional meeting with area ploice and fire departments to discuss the development of procedures involving patients infected with Ebola virus on October 22.

September 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 320 emergency incidents during the month of September including 34 box alarms and 286 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during September, two times to Saugus and once each to Lynnfield and Melrose. It did not receive any mutual aid one during the month of September. A crew from Engine 2 led from by Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded to a structure fire at 53 Lincoln Avenue in Saugus during the afternoon of September 1. Acting Lieutenant John Hurley and a crew from Engine 2 responded to a structure fire on Clifton Avenue in Saugus during the afternoon of September 15.

Fire drills were conducted in all public and private schools in Wakefield during the month of September concurrent with the beginning of the new school year on September 4. School evacuation drills were conducted at Nazareth Academy, the Walton School, the Dolbeare School, the Woodville School and the Galvin Middle School during the month of September.

All duty groups continued their on-going training in emergency medical procedures and received training in vehicle extrication techniques as well. The department’s three pumpers passed their annual pumping service tests on September 29. All department vehicles received their annual motor vehicle registry safety inspections during the month of September.

August 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 276 emergency incidents during the month of August including 20 box alarms and 256 still alarms.

The department responded to nine requests for mutual aid during August, four times to Lynnfield, three times to Saugus and once each to Reading and Chelsea. It received mutual aid one times during the month of August from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 led from by Lieutenant David Shinney responded to a second alarm fire at 340 Haven Street in Reading during the early evening of August 10. Lieutenant Philip Preston and a crew from Engine 2 responded to a five-alarm fire at 253 Arlington Street in the City of Chelsea involving six homes during the early evening of August 31.

The summer months of 2014 continue to be an exceptionally busy period for the Fire Prevention Bureau. Demolition operations of the old Galvin Middle School are well underway. The department conducted approximately 40 smoke detector inspections for the sales of homes. The classroom, cafeteria and administrative sections of the Galvin Middle School successfully passed their final inspections. Construction is well underway for the Auditorium section and the Gymnasium and adjoining classrooms will be completed during the upcoming school year. The 178 unit apartment complex at 14 Audubon Road successfully passed its final inspection of the first 62 units with the remaining units scheduled to be finished before the end of the year.

The department closely monitored activities during the Italian Festival on August 23, which drew a large crowd of pedestrians into the downtown areas around main and Albion Streets. A fireworks display was conducted later that evening as a rain date for the Fourth of July display that had been cancelled earlier this summer due to bad weather.

Wakefield Firefighters Nathan Bleu and Darren Stead graduated from Class 216 of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Program on August 29. Firefighters Bleu and Stead completed a nine-week training program which included live fire training evolutions. This training, offered to the Commonwealth’s firefighters free of charge to the communities, is something that can not be duplicated on a local level. The department wishes Firefighters Bleu and Stead a long and productive career in the fire service.

July 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 303 emergency incidents during the month of July including 33 box alarms and 270 still alarms.

The department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during July, three times to Melrose, twice to Saugus, once to Reading and once to Cambridge. It received mutual aid three times during the month of July, once each from Stoneham, Reading and Lynnfield. Crews from Engine 1 and later Engine 2 responded to Melrose and then Saugus to assist those communities with multiple simultaneous incidents after a violent thunder storm moved through the area during the early evening of July 7. A crew from Engine 2 led from by Lieutenant Christopher Smith responded to a second alarm fire in Melrose at the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital during the afternoon of July 11. Lieutenant David Shinney and a crew from Engine 2 responded to the City of Cambridge to cover a vacant station during a multiple alarm fire in that community during the early morning of July 27.

Crews under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a structure fire at 7 Evergreen Street during the evening of July 11. The fire started in a concealed attic space and was attributed to an electrical malfunction in the wiring system. The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries. The occupants of the residence were displaced until the necessary repairs could be made to the electrical system.

The department responded to numerous calls during a serious thunderstorm that moved through the area during the morning of July 28. The storm dropped several inches of rain throughout the area in a matter of minutes and resulted in a tornado that affected a neighborhood in Revere and Chelsea. A crew from Engine 1 rescued a stranded motorist who had stalled their car out in deep water at North Avenue and Church Street. Several residences were inundated by flooding water and had to be pumped out. The lightning from the storm tripped several fire alarm systems during the storm as well.

The summer months of 2014 continue to be an exceptionally busy period for the Fire Prevention Bureau. Demolition operations of the old Galvin middle School are well underway. The department conducted approximately 50 smoke detector inspections for the sales of homes. Construction is progressing steadily at the Galvin Middle School as the completion date for the sections of the school to be occupied in September is rapidly approaching. Construction on the large apartment complex at 14 Audubon Road is also progressing rapidly. The former Exxon station at the head of the Lake has been razed and the new gasoline tanks for the Cumberland Farms station have been installed. Numerous cutting and welding operations were monitored by the Fire Prevention Bureau during the month of July including work at the Northeast Regional Vocational School and office buildings located at 100 Quannapowitt Parkway and 107 Audubon Road. A large group of school aged children attended a visit to the Public Safety Building as part of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Juvenile Summer Camp on July 9.

June 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 307 emergency incidents during the month of June including 21 box alarms and 286 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during June, twice to Stoneham, twice to Melrose, once to Saugus and once to Gloucester. It received mutual aid one time during the month of June from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 led from by Lieutenant Brian Purcell responded to a second alarm fire in Stoneham on Hersam Street during the morning of June 11. Captain Paul Pronco was activated to a location in Gloucester as part of an activation for the Essex County Technical Rescue Team however the team was cancelled prior to their arrival on scene.

Crews under the command of Captain Richard Smith responded to a potentially serious pedestrian accident at the intersection of North Avenue and Prospect Street when a woman and two young children were struck by a falling traffic signal that had been hit by a truck.

Wakefield Firefighter recruits Nathan Bleu and Darren Stead started their recruit training class with the Massachusetts firefighting Academy on June 16. The nine week program will train them to the level of Firefighter I/II when they finally graduate at the end of August.

Wakefield firefighters David Shinney, John Mercurio, Clifford Silva and John Walsh were promoted to the rank of Fire Lieutenant on June 30. These promotions were made without adding any new positions to the department as part of the second phase of the department’s reorganization of its command structure. As a result of these promotions all fire companies will now have a designated company officer in charge of them with the Shift Commander, a Captain, in overall charge of the on duty group.

Ladder 1 visited the Tall Spire Nursery School on June 2. Kindergarten children from the Dolbeare and Woodville schools washed the new ladder truck with firefighters on June 12 and 20. A group of Woodville preschoolers got their chance to wash the ladder truck on June 23. The department finished conducting fire drills in all public and private schools during the beginning of June.

The department’s new Seagrave aerial ladder truck was placed into service on June 6 with no problems noted. All groups received training in the new “bail out” rope rescue kits issued to them as part of an Assistance to Firefighters Grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security.

firefighter training for bail outBail Out Training

June was an exceptionally busy month for the Fire Prevention Bureau as the construction season reaches its peak period during the warm weather. The department conducted a record 62 smoke detector inspections for the sales of homes. Construction is progressing steadily at the Galvin Middle School as well as an apartment complex at 14 Audubon Road. The former Exxon station at the head of the Lake has been razed in preparation for the construction of a new service station with a convenient store on that site.

May 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 266 emergency incidents during the month of May including 31 box alarms and 235 still alarms.

The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during May, once to Reading, once to Lynnfield, once to North Reading and twice to Stoneham. It received mutual aid thirteen times during the month of May, three times from Lynnfield, twice each from Melrose, Stoneham, North Reading and Reading and once each from Saugus and Woburn. A crew led by Lieutenant Christopher Smith covered reading Fire headquarters during an incident in that town during the evening of May 4. Lieutenant Sean Curran and the crew of Engine 4 covered the Lynnfield Fire Department during an extensive brush fire in that community during the afternoon of May 5. A crew under the command of Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded to a second alarm fire in Stoneham during the early evening of May 11. Lieutenant Brian Purcell led a crew from Engine 2 while they covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during the afternoon of May 25. Lieutenant Michael Long led a crew from Engine 1 while they covered the North Reading Fire Headquarters during a fire in that community on the morning of May 31.

Crews under the command of Captain Randy Hudson were able to extinguish a smoky fire in the basement of 45 Avon Street before it was able to extend to the rest of the structure. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental with an electrical origin being strongly suspected. The fire caused considerable smoke damage in the multi-family dwelling. There were no injuries and no one was displaced as a result of the fire. The same crews led by Captain Randy Hudson checked on a fire in the porch of a residence at 6 Highland Avenue during the afternoon of May 6. The fire, caused by the careless disposal of smoking materials, was quickly knocked down by the homeowner using a garden hose.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to Wakefield’s first multiple alarm fire of 2014 during the afternoon of May 15. The fire started on the first floor of a two-family residence at 62 Montrose Avenue, causing considerable fire damage to the first floor and heat and smoke damage to the rest of the structure. Firefighting operations were hampered by the hot muggy weather conditions present during the fire. One firefighter was injured and seven residents were displaced as a result of this fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

An electrical malfunction in a ceiling-mounted modine heater started a fire in some pipe insulation at Anton Cleaner’s, 269 North Avenue, during the afternoon of May 19. Crews under Captain Joseph Riley were able to contain the damage to the heating unit and nearby pipe insulation. The business was able to reopen after a short period.

A wood-fired brick pizza oven inadvertently ignited some wooden decking on the porch of the residence at 83 Kendrick Road during the evening of May 26. Firefighters under the command of Lieutenant Robert Taggart responded and quickly ensured that the fire did not extend beyond the porch area.

Ladder1 visited the tall Spire Nursery School on May 28 and a group from Parents of Tots visited fire headquarters during the morning of May 30. The department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of May. The on-duty shifts conducted quarterly fire inspections of all schools, nursing homes, boarding houses and hotels during the month of May.

The department’s new Seagrave aerial ladder truck continues to be outfitted with equipment with an anticipated date of June 6 as its first day of service. All department members received factory training on the new truck from Seagrave representatives during the week of May 19.

April 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 284 emergency incidents during the month of April including 26 box alarms and 258 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during April, all four times to Lynnfield. It received mutual aid once during the month of April from Melrose.

Despite a relatively wet April, ground vegetation quickly dried out due to the large number of windy days during the month. The department responded to 13 brush fires during the month of April. A crew from Wakefield Engine 1 assisted the Saugus Fire Department and a fire crew from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation locate a brush fire inside Breakhart Reservation during the afternoon of April11. A crew from Engine 2 led by Acting Lieutenant David Shinney extinguished a small brush fire behind 6 Blueberry Lane during the afternoon of April 24. A firefighter working a detail during the carnival at the Galvin middle School parking lot spotted a column of smoke coming from the area of hart’s Hill during the early evening of April 24. Crews under the command of Captain Richard Smith quickly responded and found approximately three acres of brush burning near the top of the hill. The entire shift remained on scene for almost three hours while a Melrose engine covered the town. Firefighters returned twice to Hart’s Hill during April 25 to extinguish hot spots from the April 24 brush fire. Wakefield residents are reminded that outdoor burning season ended on May 1 for 2014.

The department, along with the Melrose Fire Department, participated in the annual Boston’s Wounded Vet Run on April 27 by draping a large American flag between the two communities’ ladder trucks as the motorcycle procession passed by in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Wakefield. This patriotic display was well received by the thousands of motorcyclists participating in this annual event.

The department conducted pressure testing of all of its fire hose during the month of April. An evacuation drill was conducted at the Northeast Regional Vocational School on Hemlock Road during the morning of April 29.

The department’s new aerial ladder truck has arrived in Wakefield after being driven out from the Seagrave plant in Clintonville, Wisconsin. The truck is being outfitted with a new radio and other assorted equipment as well as being lettered and detailed. Preparations on the new truck will continue and it will be placed into service sometime in late May once department members have received training on the operation of the new truck.

March 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 249 emergency incidents during the month of March including 30 box alarms and 219 still alarms.

The Department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during March, three times to Lynnfield, three times to Melrose and once to Belmont. It did not receive mutual aid at all during the month of March. Lieutenant Brian Purcell along with a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Melrose Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 101 Cottage Street during the morning of March 24.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to the Pactiv facility located at 400 Audubon Road during the evening of March 3 for a reported fire inside the plant. This fire started when waste paper from a cutting operation ignited and dropped down into a collection bin. Workers were able to use fire extinguishers and remove the burning bin from the plant before the fire could spread. There were no injuries and the damage was confined to the waste paper and bin.

Firefighter Daniel Marsinelli responded to an activation of the District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team when it was called out to the Mount Auburn Health Care facility at 262 Trapelo Road in Belmont during the evening of March 8. The activation was initiated when a mysterious white powder was located in several of the facility’s restrooms. The incident was terminated once the substance in question was tested and found to be non-hazardous. Firefighter Marsinelli is the only department member assigned to the District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team. All costs for Firefighter Marsinelli’s team training and deployment to actual incidents are covered by the State of Massachusetts.

The Wakefield Fire Department conducted an inspection of the new aerial ladder truck being built at the Seagrave plant in Clintonville, Wisconsin. Construction of the truck is nearing completion. The truck should arrive in Massachusetts within the next several weeks and will likely be in service sometime during the month of May.

February 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 247 emergency incidents during the month of February including 37 box alarms and 210 still alarms.

The Department responded to one request for mutual aid during February to Melrose. It received mutual aid four times in February, once from Melrose, once from Reading and twice from Stoneham.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith responded to reported kitchen fire at 9 Reynolds Road during the evening of February 3. This fire started on the stove when grease from cooking food was ignited. The homeowner was able to contain the fire to the area of the stove prior to the arrival of the department however the entire home suffered considerable smoke damage. No one was displaced as a result of this fire and one occupant received minor burn injuries to his face.

Crews led by Captain Joseph Riley and Lieutenant Brian Purcell responded to another potentially serious incident at 26 Greenwood Street during the early morning of February 5 when a wood pellet stove malfunctioned filling the house with smoke.. The fire was confined to the stove and blamed on a malfunction of an automatic feeder for the unit. There were no injuries as a result of this incident and the family was able to stay in the home once the smoke was vented.

The department welcomed three new firefighters to its ranks during the month of February. Nathan E. Bleu, Arthur R. Fennelly and Darren R. Stead were sworn in as Wakefield firefighters on February 27. These new firefighters were appointed to replace retired Fire lieutenant Kevin Carney, retired Firefighter Eugene Doucette Jr. and Firefighter Shane brown, who transferred over to the Cambridge Fire Department. The three new firefighters will bring the department’s staffing level up to 50, with four groups of 12 firefighters, the Fire Prevention Officer and the Chief of Department.

All four duty shifts received training in the proper use of the new computer laptop installed in the fire apparatus. The units were funded by and Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Department of Homeland Security. A Girl Scout troop from the Greenwood School visited the Greenwood Fire Station during the afternoon of February 27.

January 2014

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 341 emergency incidents during the month of January including 60 box alarms and 281 still alarms. The unusually high number of responses is due primarily to the extreme cold experienced by the region during January. The department responded to numerous residences and businesses as a result of frozen and burst pipes. Icy road condition added to the number of medical emergencies and motor vehicle accidents that the department responded to. Frigid winter weather can also result in an increased number of structure fires as evidenced by the department’s increased mutual aid responses in January.

The Department responded to eleven requests for mutual aid during January, four times to Saugus, three times to Lynnfield, twice to Melrose and once to Reading and Hamilton. It received mutual aid twice in January, once from Melrose and once from Reading. A crew under Lieutenant Brian Purcell assisted the Saugus Fire Department at a structure fire at 70 Clifton Avenue during the morning of January 1. Engine 2 responded to the scene of another structure fire at 482 Central Street in Saugus during the evening of January 3. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Melrose Fire Headquarters during a fire in that city on the morning of January 15. Lieutenant Robert Taggart led a crew that responded to a 2-alarm fire at 197 Bay State Road in Melrose during the evening of January 19. Wakefield Engine 1 covered the Reading Fire headquarters during a working fire in that town on the evening of January 28. Several hours later Lieutenant Robert Taggart led a crew that responded to a working fire at 26 Longwood Avenue in Saugus. A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Albert responded to a structure fire at 10 Laurel Street in Saugus during the evening of January 29.

Crews led by Captain Joseph Riley and Lieutenant Brian Purcell responded to a potentially serious stove fire at 16 Woodbury Road during the afternoon of January 1. The fire, confined to the top of the stove, was rapidly extinguished by the first arriving firefighters. A serious smoke condition was created within the apartment that reduced the visibility to zero within the unit. Firefighters under Lieutenant Brian Purcell conducted a rapid search of the apartment, locating and removing an adult male who had been overcome by smoke during the fire. The victim was removed outdoors and received treatment for severe smoke inhalation before being transported to the hospital by Action Ambulance paramedics. The injured occupant recovered completely and has returned to his residence. Lieutenant Brian Purcell, and Firefighters Erik Cole, Sean Giampa, William Carr, John Mercurio and Nolan Curran all received a department commendation for their actions in saving the life of this individual.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Richard Smith responded to another potentially serious residential fire at 6 Morningside Road during the evening of January 12. This fire started in a stove located in the basement of the residence and was quickly contained due to the quick actions of one of the residents who used a garden hose to knock down the fire. The fire was contained to basement area around the stove however the entire residence suffered considerable smoke damage. No one was displaced as a result of this fire and there were no injuries.

Captain Paul Pronco responded to 480 Bay Road in Hamilton along with other members of the Essex County Technical Rescue Team during the afternoon of January 25 to participate in the successful rescue of a horse that had fallen though the ice at that location. The Essex Country Technical Rescue Team is a regional group composed of firefighters from many communities. Team responses as well as all training are fully funded by the Northeast Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council (NERAC). The team has performed very well at several well publicized rescues recently and Wakefield is fortunate to be able to participate in its successful implementation.

The department received 5 computer laptops and associated software as part of the 2012 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program funded by the Department of Homeland Security. This regional grant involving the communities of Melrose, Saugus, Malden, Chelsea and Lynn will allow firefighters on emergency apparatus to access vital information regarding buildings in all of the participating communities. This federal grant program funds approximately 80% of the cost of these laptops with the remaining 20% being funded through the department’s capital outlay budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Department members received training in the proper use of these kits and they have been installed in the department’s apparatus.

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