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December 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 314 emergency incidents during the month of December including 31 box alarms and 283 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during December, three times to Stoneham and once each to Cambridge, Malden and Melrose. It received mutual aid once during the month of December from Lynnfield.

Lieutenant David Shinney along with Firefighters Gary Hill and Joseph Nee responded with Engine 2 and assisted the Cambridge Fire Department during a 10-alarm fire in that city during the afternoon and evening of December 3. Hundreds of firefighters from dozens of communities responded to this fire that left scores of people homeless. The fire destroyed numerous buildings due to the intense winds that day as well as the close proximity of the buildings in the densely settled neighborhood.

Lieutenant Christopher Crogan and a crew from Engine 2 covered a vacant Malden fire station during a 3-alarm fire in that community during the afternoon of December 6. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Michael Long covered the Town of Stoneham during a serious motor vehicle accident in that community during the early evening of December 10. Firefighters under the command of Lieutenant David Shinney assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 154 North Street in that community during the morning of December 15.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Acting Captain Philip Preston responded to an electrical fire at 107 Audubon Road during the afternoon of December 11. Firefighters arrived to find a fire in a bathroom ceiling light fan that had created a significant smoke condition inside the commercial office building. Fire damage was contained to the area of the ceiling fan and the business was able to remain open. Captain Paul Pronco led Wakefield firefighters at the scene of a kitchen fire at 39 Richardson Avenue during the afternoon of December 12. The fire was contained to the area of the stove and kitchen cabinets and caused considerable smoke damage to the apartment. The fire started when a pan of grease ignited and then spread when the occupant attempted to extinguish the fire with water spreading the fire in the process. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

The department’s inventory of hydraulic rescue tools were inspected and passed inspection on December 13. All department ground ladders as well as the aerial ladder on Ladder 1 were tested and passed their annual inspections on December 19. A preschool group from the Doyle School visited the Wakefield Fire Department Headquarters during the morning of December 22.

November 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 285 emergency incidents during the month of November including 32 box alarms and 253 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during November, twice each to Melrose and Saugus. It received mutual aid once during the month of November from Stoneham. Acting Lieutenant Daniel Sullivan and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 57 Harrison Avenue in that community during the evening of November 11. A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant David Shinney assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a house fire at 6 Midland Avenue that seriously injured a male occupant at during the afternoon of November 23. Lieutenant Michael long and a crew from Engine 2 covered Melrose Fire Headquarters during the evening of November 29 while that department was battling a structure fire at 111 Grove Street.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a kitchen fire at 72 Converse Street during the evening of November 15. Firefighters arrived to find a fire in a microwave oven that had extended to adjacent wooden trim and cabinets before being partially extinguished by an occupant. Fire damage was contained to the microwave and surrounding area while the remainder of the home suffered some smoke damage. The cause of the fire was determined to be the overheating and subsequent ignition of a heating pad inside the microwave oven. There were no injuries as a result of this fire and the family was able to remain in the home.

Captain Thomas Purcell led firefighters at the scene of a motor vehicle accident and fuel spill at the Irving self-service gasoline station at 448 Salem Street during the early morning of November 18. A vehicle towing a trailer accidentally stuck a fuel pump, damaging the internal piping and spilling approximately 75 gallons of gasoline onto the concrete apron surrounding the pumps. Fortunately, all of the safety features in the pump worked correctly, shutting down the flow of gasoline. Firefighters contained the spilled fuel with bags of absorbent and diked nearby storm drains and applied a foam blanket to the spill area to contain the flammable gasoline fumes. The regional state hazardous materials team was activated and responded to provide additional support and advice to the department. Irving Fuel representatives notified a clean-up company to mitigate the spill and make repairs. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection was notified and responded to supervise the clean-up operation. Quick and decisive action by Wakefield Firefighters kept a serious incident from becoming a major spill and fire.

Firefighters under the direction of Captain Brian Purcell assisted a homeowner at 132 New Salem Street check on a fire that he had extinguished on the exterior cedar shingle siding of the residence during the evening of November 22. The fire, caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials, was contained to the small area of exterior siding.

An evacuation drill was conducted at the Northeast Regional Vocational School on November 14. Department members continue to participate in emergency medical training as part of their ongoing process to maintain their certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians including a program on the prevention of exposures to blood-borne pathogens. A Cub Scout den visited the Wakefield Fire Department Headquarters during the afternoon of November 10.

October 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 288 emergency incidents during the month of October including 38 box alarms and 250 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during October, once each to Lynnfield, Melrose and Saugus. It received mutual aid three times during the month of October from Melrose, Reading and Stoneham. Lieutenant David Shinney and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 8 Charles Street in that community during the afternoon of October 8.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a structure fire at 37 Butternut Road during the early morning of October 10. Firefighters arrived to find an exterior light fixture in the rear of the home has shorted out igniting the exterior wall surrounding it. The fire extended into an adjoining basement ceiling area before being extinguished. The cause of the fire was determined to be a water leak from a recent rain storm that had caused a short circuit within the light. The fire was confined to the immediate area and no injuries were reported. The family of four was displaced for a short period due to a significant smoke condition and resulting damage in the residence.

The department continued to conduct fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of October. Evacuation drills were conducted at the Walton, Doyle, St. Joseph, Greenwood, Dolbeare, Woodville and Wakefield memorial High Schools during the month of October. The Dolbeare School additionally conducted its first re-unification drill on October 18. St. Joseph’s also combined its evacuation drill with a re-unification component on October 6. All three of the department’s pumpers successfully passed their annual in-service pumping tests. The department took delivery of a new protective gear washer/extractor and dryer at Headquarters during the month of October. The equipment was purchased through a Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighter’s (AFG) grant for a total cost of approximately $18,000. Approximately 90% of the total cost of this equipment was funded by this grant program.

Department members continue to participate in emergency medical training as part of their ongoing process to maintain their certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians. All duty groups reviewed standard operating guidelines on chimney fires, carbon monoxide and natural gas emergencies. A large group of preschoolers from the Canterbury Children’s Center visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters at the Public Safety Building during the mornings of October 11 and 12.

September 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 300 emergency incidents during the month of September including 30 box alarms and 270 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during September, twice to Melrose and once to Stoneham. It received no mutual aid during the month of September. Lieutenant Christopher Crogan and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a two-alarm fire at 71 Montvale Avenue during the evening of September 23.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a structure fire in a storage shed at 8 Babson Street during the afternoon of September 6. Firefighters arrived to find an exterior wall and some flooring in the shed burning. The cause of the fire was determined to be the careless disposal of smoking materials next to the shed. The fire was confined to the shed and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to 340 Main Street during the late morning of September 27 and extinguished a small fire in a deep fat fryer at that location. The fire was contained to the fryer and was caused by a build-up of grease on the equipment that subsequently ignited. There was no damage to the deep fat fryer and no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

The department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools during the month of September. All nursing homes, hotels, boarding houses and schools also received their quarterly inspections during September. All department vehicles were inspected and were issued their Registry of Motor Vehicle inspection stickers.

Department members continue to participate in emergency medical training as part of their ongoing process to maintain their certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians. All duty shifts received training in emergency vehicle crash extrication techniques during September. A group of home-schooled children toured the Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the morning of September 21.

August 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 321 emergency incidents during the month of August including 28 box alarms and 293 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during August, twice to Saugus and once to Lynnfield. It received mutual aid five times during the month of August, twice from both Stoneham and Lynnfield and once from Melrose. Acting Lieutenant Dan Sullivan and a crew from Engine 2 covered the Saugus fire headquarters during an incident in that community during the morning of August 7. Lieutenant Sean Curran and a crew from Engine 1 covered the Lynnfield South fire station during an extensive brush fire in that community during the afternoon of August 30.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a reported fire alarm activation at 247 North Avenue during the evening of August 1. Firefighters arrived to find the restaurant full of smoke and with a considerable heat condition in the kitchen. A fire apparently started when a component of the kitchen stove malfunctioned and ignited some materials on top of it. The fire had self-extinguished prior to the arrival of the department and did not extend beyond the stove. The restaurant and adjoining business were vented of smoke.

The month of August was marked by several serious accidents and emergency medical calls requiring a response by the department.

A well-known local man was seriously injured when the vehicle he was driving was struck by a commuter rail train at the Broadway crossing just before noon on August 11. Responding firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell found a Ford F150 pick-up truck pushed several hundred feet down the track and hung up on the front car of the train. The lone occupant of the vehicle was quickly extricated using the Jaws of Life. He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital by Med Flight helicopter due to the serious nature of his injuries. The quick work of responding firefighters and paramedics from Action Ambulance and Med Flight saved this man’s life.

Lieutenant Sean Curran and a crew from Engine 1 assisted an injured motorcyclist at the scene of a serious car accident during the evening of August 24. The male operator suffered serious injuries when he collided with a motor vehicle at 383 Water Street. Off-duty Fire Captain Christopher Smith and Chelsea Deputy Fire Chief Paul Giancola both stopped to render assistance to the injured operator. Their actions kept the patient calm and prevented further injury and they were officially commended by the department for their actions.

Captain Christopher Smith led firefighters from Engine 1 and Ladder 1 at the scene of another serious car accident at the Route 95 North off ramps to Salem Street during the afternoon of August 27. Firefighters arrived to find a passenger car pinned underneath a tractor trailer’s rear wheels. One of the occupants was trapped in the vehicle and was quickly removed by firefighters once the trailer was stabilized with rescue jacks. The trapped occupant was not injured and refused medical treatment.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco assisted Action Ambulance and Med Flight personnel treat an adult male who had been stabbed with a broken golf club during the evening of August 30. The male was impaled by the club, requiring extensive care prior to his transport by helicopter to Beth Israel Hospital.

The month of August continued this summer’s weather pattern of hot dry weather that the region has experienced, drying out ground vegetation and increasing the overall risk of outside fires. The department responded to numerous small brush and mulch fires as a result of these drought conditions. Residents are cautioned to dispose of smoking materials properly to cut down the risk of mulch and brush fires.

July 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 345 emergency incidents during the month of July including 27 box alarms and 318 still alarms.

The department responded to nine requests for mutual aid during July, five times to Lynnfield, twice to Saugus, and once each to Stoneham and Melrose. It received mutual aid three times during the month of July, twice from Reading and once from Stoneham. Crews from Engine 4 and Ladder 1 led by Lieutenant Joseph Albert and Lieutenant Phil Preston assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at the scene of a second alarm fire at 10 Blue Jay Road during the evening of July 12. Lieutenant Joseph Albert and a crew from Engine 4 responded with the fire boat to Breakheart Reservation to assist the Saugus Fire Department with a water rescue on the lower lake during the late morning of July 18. Lieutenant Sean Curran and a crew from Engine 1 covered the South Lynnfield fire station during an extensive brush fire in that community during the early evening of July 21. Crews from Engines 1 and 2 covered vacant fire stations in Stoneham and Lynnfield during the day on July 22. The department assisted the Saugus Fire Department along with firefighters from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation at the scene of a 2 acre brush fire in Breakheart Reservation on July 23. The fire was located near the Spruce Path where it intersected the Ridge Trail, burning into the dry vegetation, requiring three days to fully extinguish.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a potentially serious fire at 510 Lowell Street during the morning of July 14. The fire started when a cardboard box came into contact with light bulb from a floor lamp. The fire was successfully extinguished by the homeowner prior to the arrival of the department. The fire was contained to the area of origin but caused a considerable smoke condition in the residence which was promptly vented by firefighters.

Captain Christopher Smith led firefighters from Engine 1 and Ladder 1 at the scene of a serious car accident on Route 95 North between exits 39 and 40 during the evening of July 9. Firefighters arrived to find the occupant of one of the vehicles trapped and quickly extricated the individual using the Jaws of Life to pry open a door on the vehicle. The occupant was then transported to an area hospital with a severe ankle injury.

Drought conditions in the area continue to result in numerous small brush and mulch fires in addition to the large 2 acre fire that occurred inside Breakheart Reservation on July 23. The month of July continued the weather pattern of hot dry weather that the region has experienced, drying out ground vegetation and increasing the overall risk of outside fires. Residents are cautioned to dispose of smoking materials properly to cut down the risk of mulch and brush fires.

Children participating in the Camp Quannapowitt YMCA Summer Program visited fire headquarters on July 26. A group of more than 40 children from the Middlesex Youth Public Safety Academy, a program sponsored by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, visited the Wakefield Fire and Police Departments at the Public Safety Building on July 27.

June 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 300 emergency incidents during the month of June including 28 box alarms and 272 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during June, once each to North Reading, Reading, Saugus and Winchester. It received mutual aid thirteen times during June, four times from Lynnfield, twice from Malden and once each from Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Saugus, Stoneham, Winchester and Woburn. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Phil Preston covered the North Reading Fire Headquarters during a two-alarm fire in that community in the early morning hours of June 1. A crew from Engine 2 led by Acting Lieutenant John Hurley covered Winchester Fire Headquarters during a three-alarm fire in that community on the morning of June 5. Lieutenant John Walsh led a crew from Engine 1 that provided assistance to the Reading Fire Department during a 2-alarm fire on Curtis Street in that community during the evening of June 14.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to Wakefield’s second multiple alarm fire of the year at 12 Highland Street during the evening of June 25. Firefighters arrived within one minute of being dispatched to find a large fire engulfing the deck and exterior siding on the east side of the residence as well as fire showing from several second floor windows. The fire quickly extended into concealed wall and ceiling spaces and second and third alarms were struck bringing additional firefighters from Lynnfield, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Saugus, Stoneham and Woburn to the scene. The fire took several hours to extinguish and caused heavy fire damage to the second and third floors of this two-family residence. Homes on both sides of the residence were damaged by the intense heat given off during the beginning stages of the fire. The two homeowners were displaced from the residence until extensive repairs can be made. Two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries during the fire, one requiring transport to an area hospital. State troopers from the Fire Marshal’s Office were called in to investigate the fire and determined the fire started in the area of the rear deck most likely from the improper disposal of a cigarette.

Captain Thomas Purcell led firefighters at the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident at 86 Elm Street during the afternoon of June 8. A male operator of a motorcycle was seriously injured after colliding with a car. Due to the nature of his injuries he was transported by Boston Medflight Helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Off-duty Wakefield firefighter Michael Rowe received a department Letter of Commendation for his efforts in assisting the downed motorcyclist before the arrival of on-duty firefighters and paramedics from Action Ambulance, His actions as well as the actions of all emergency personnel at the scene likely saved this young man’s life.

June was a hot dry month resulting in low fuel moisture levels in ground vegetation such as mulch and brush. As a result, the department was kept busy with numerous mulch fires caused by discarded cigarettes. The department responded to fourteen brush fires the largest of which occurred on June 12 in a wooded area off of the end of Acorn Avenue, consuming several acres. The department returned to this area on June 14 and 22 to wet down several hot spots. A smaller but more spectacular night brush fire occurred along a ridge line behind Gates Lane during the evening of June 19, threatening several homes before it was quickly contained by responding firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco.

All groups continued their annual in-service business fire inspections for the 2016 calendar year. Group 1 firefighters led by Captain Randy Hudson conducted a simulated water rescue after a brief public safety announcement coordinated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at the lake shore on the lower common at noon on June 22. Department EMT’s continued working on their National Core Curriculum Requirements during 2016 as part of their annual continuing education for Emergency Medical Technician. The crew from Ladder 1 washed their fire truck with preschoolers from the Doyle School on June 1 and kindergarteners from the Woodville and Dolbeare Schools on June 6 and 9. All four groups conducted search and rescue drills and practiced cutting roof holes in a residence at 4 Walton Place in greenwood scheduled to be razed in the near future.

May 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 341 emergency incidents during the month of May including 27 box alarms and 314 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during May, once each to Lynnfield and Stoneham. It received mutual aid five times during May, twice from Stoneham and once from Lynnfield, Reading and Saugus. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant John Walsh assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 844 Main Street in that community during the early morning of May 28.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a basement fire during the early evening of May 16. Firefighters arrived to find the home filled with smoke from a basement stove-top fire that had extended to nearby cabinets. The fire was quickly extinguished and confined to the immediate area surrounding the stove. The occupants were able to reoccupy the residence once the heavy smoke condition had been vented.

Captain Randy Hudson led firefighters at the scene of a fire in the service area of Liberty Chevrolet on Bay State Road around noontime on May 18. The fire started while work was being done to remove a fuel tank from a vehicle and a flash fire occurred. Liberty Chevrolet employees managed to knock down the fire in the burning fuel tank with fire extinguishers and move it outdoors prior to the arrival of the department. An employee in the service area suffered burns to his face as a result of the fire and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Fortunately, his injuries were not serious. Damage was confined to the immediate area of the tank and the dealership was able to remain open.

All groups continued their annual in-service business fire inspections for the 2016 calendar year. All shifts reviewed standard operating procedures on the operation of the department’s two fire boats as well as procedures to be followed during water rescues. Department EMT’s continued working on their National Core Curriculum Requirements during 2016 as part of their annual continuing education for Emergency Medical Technician. The department conducted fire drills in all public and private schools in town during the month of May. The crew from Ladder 1 visited the children at the Tall Spire Nursery School on May 26 and 27.

April 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 299 emergency incidents during the month of April including 38 box alarms and 261 still alarms.

The department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during April, four times to Stoneham, and once each to Lynnfield, Melrose and North Reading. It received mutual aid three times during April, twice from Reading and once from Stoneham. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Michael Long covered Melrose fire headquarters during the early evening of April 1. Lieutenant Lou Sardella and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 10 Washington Avenue during the evening of April 10. Lt. Robert Taggart and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of another 2-alarm fire at 92 Washington Street during the evening of April 12. Lt Phil Preston and a crew from Engine 1 covered the North Reading fire headquarters during an extensive brush fire in that community during the afternoon of April 21.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a potentially serious incident at 11 Eaton Street during the early evening of April 4. Firefighters arrived to find the home filled with smoke, the result of a pot full of water that had boiled off and ignited the pan. Fortunately the fire was confined to the area of the stove and the occupants were able to reoccupy the residence once the heavy smoke condition had been vented.

All of the department’s fire hose was pressure tested during the month of April. All four duty groups conducted a tour of the Camp Curtis National Guard facility on Haverhill Street on the Reading-Wakefield town line during the month of April and continued their annual in-service business fire inspections for the 2016 calendar year. All shifts reviewed standard operating procedures on radio and dispatch procedure as well as the testing of fire department hose. All department members commenced their annual emergency medical training during April. Department EMT’s will be taking their National Core Curriculum Requirements during 2016 as part of their annual continuing education for Emergency Medical Technician.

March 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 317 emergency incidents during the month of March including 38 box alarms and 279 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during March, once each to Woburn, Melrose, Lynnfield and North Reading. It received mutual aid twice during March, once each from Reading and Stoneham. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Michael Long covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a three-alarm fire in that city during the afternoon of March 8. Wakefield Engine 2 covered Melrose Fire headquarters during the early evening of March 12 and Engine 4 covered Lynnfield Fire Headquarters during the early evening of March 13. Lt Phil Preston and a crew from Engine 1 assisted the North Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire on Wright Street during the evening of March 30.

Captain Randy Hudson led firefighters responding to a fire at the Dunkin Donuts at 225 North Avenue during the morning of March 2. Firefighters found a smoke condition throughout the restaurant caused by a grease fire behind a small oven in the front counter area. The adjoining areas and duct work were checked for extension but the fire itself was contained to the area behind the oven. There were no injuries and the restaurant was closed for a brief period while the damage was cleaned up.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to an incident involving a wall collapse in a house under construction at 18 Line Road during the morning of March 17. The second floor wall collapsed onto four construction workers seriously injuring them. Firefighters worked closely with Action Ambulance personnel to remove the injured parties by ladder and transport them to area hospitals. The rescue was made more challenging by the fact that the interior stairs had only been partially completed at this stage in the building’s construction.

Firefighters under Captain Brian Purcell responded to a report of a car fire at 18 Highland Street during the morning of March 22. Firefighters arrived to find that the car fire had extended to the adjoining house next to the driveway. Quick work by responding crews confined the fire to the vehicle and the exterior siding of the house next to the fed by the interior wood framing inside the walls. The occupants were able to remain in the home and one firefighter suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire.

All four duty groups conducted walk thru tours of 365 and 96 Audubon Road during the month of March and began their annual in-service business fire inspections for the 2016 calendar year. Quarterly fire inspections were also conducted during the month of March in all nursing homes, schools, hotels and rooming houses.

February 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 347 emergency incidents during the month of February including 47 box alarms and 300 still alarms.

The department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during February, twice each to Melrose, Stoneham and Saugus, once to Reading. It received mutual aid nine times during February, three times from Reading and once each from Stoneham, Melrose, Lynnfield, North Reading, Saugus and Woburn. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Christopher Crogan assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire on Hawkes Street during the evening of February 14.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to Wakefield’s first multiple alarm fire of the year during the morning of February 22 at the Lakeside Inn at 595 North Avenue. The department received several automatic notifications for an alarm activation at the hotel followed up by a call from the hotel management reporting a building fire. The fire started when a plumber accidentally ignited insulation inside a concealed wall space in a first floor guest room while soldering a pipe. The fire quickly extended to the second floor through a pipe chase, fed by the interior wood framing inside the walls. A second alarm was struck bringing help from Reading, Stoneham, Melrose and North Reading to the scene. Quick work by fire crews stopped the fire extension at the second floor ceiling area, preventing it from extending into a concealed attic space. Although the hotel is equipped with sprinklers, the fire was able to extend inside concealed wall and ceiling spaces that were not protected by the sprinkler system. Fire damage was contained to the two first floor and second floor rooms adjoining the wall that the pipe chase was contained in. The south wing on the hotel suffered significant smoke damage. The plumber who was involved in the fire’s ignition suffered second degree burns to both hands attempting to extinguish the fire. One firefighter suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire as well. While crews were battling this fire, another small fire occurred at 6 Layton Avenue when discarded smoking materials ignited a box of tissues and a phone book on a bookcase in the living room. This fire was contained to the immediate area but cause a considerable smoke condition in the residence. The value of mutual aid from neighboring departments was evident as this fire was primarily handled by firefighters from Lynnfield, Saugus and Woburn.

Firefighters under Captain Brian Purcell responded to a chimney fire at 4 Marion Circle during the afternoon of February 24. Firefighters found a light smoke condition in the basement and were able to locate and clear a blockage inside the chimney and contain the fire to that area of the home. The occupant was able to remain in the home and there were no injuries as a result of this fire.

Wakefield experienced a period of extremely cold weather from February 14-16. As a result, the department responded to at least 25 calls for burst pipes in both commercial and residential buildings. Citizens were reminded not to use any open flame devices to thaw out frozen pipes.

All four duty groups conducted quarterly fire inspections of schools, nursing homes, boarding houses and hotels during the month of February. A Girl Scout brownie troop visited fire headquarters on February 11.

Marblehead Firefighter Steven L. Bivens transferred over to the Wakefield Fire Department and was sworn in on February 16. Firefighter Bivens is a six year veteran of the Marblehead Fire Department, a graduate of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Program and is certified to the level of Firefighter I/II. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Captain Joseph Riley, who retired on January 8. The department welcomes Firefighter Bivens and wishes him a long and productive career with the Wakefield Fire Department.

January 2016

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 328 emergency incidents during the month of January including 34 box alarms and 294 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during January, twice to Melrose and Saugus, once to North Andover and once to Watertown. It received mutual aid four times during January, three times from Melrose and once from Stoneham. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant David Shinney assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 240 Essex Street during the early morning of January 6. Captain Paul Pronco and Lieutenant Michael Long responded along with other members of the Northeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team after a large explosion occurred inside a commercial building at 61 Willow Street in North Andover on the morning of January 8. The team assisted the State Police Bomb Squad and regional hazardous materials team during the investigation following the explosion. All team activations and training exercises are funded by the Northeast Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council (NERAC) at no cost to the department. Firefighter Daniel Marsinelli responded along with other members of the District 2 Hazardous materials Response Team to 190 Warren Street in Watertown after a chemical spill was reported at that location. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts pays for all costs incurred by the department for Firefighter Marsinelli’s participation with the team.

Wakefield firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a structure fire at 416 Main Street during the early evening of January 20. The fire started in a ventilation fan located above the dropped ceiling in the Nail Expressions salon. The fire was quickly extinguished and was confined to the area where it started. The area above the dropped ceiling suffered fire and heat damage and the second floor office spaces and hallway over the store had some smoke damage as a result of the fire. The cause of the fire was determined to an electrical short and related arcing in a ceiling ventilation fan. There were no reported injuries, however, the nail salon will operate at a different location within the building until the necessary repairs to this space are completed.

Firefighters under Captain Richard Smith responded to two serious fire incidents during the evening of January 26. A toaster fire inside an apartment at 41 Richardson Avenue extended to a kitchen counter and surrounding appliances. The fire was quickly extinguished although a considerable amount of smoke did extend throughout the apartment and the adjoining hallway. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. While still at the scene of the Richardson Avenue fire, the department received a report of another fire at 59 Spring Street. Engines 1 and 2 responded with a Melrose ladder truck to find a stove fire that had extended to nearby combustibles. This fire was also quickly contained to the area of the stove. There was significant smoke damage to the second floor apartment. There were no injuries as a result of this fire.

January brought significant changes to personnel within the department. On January 8 Captain Joseph Riley retired from the department after serving almost 30 years with the department. Captain Riley, a veteran with the United States Navy, was appointed to the department on April 3, 1986. Riley was promoted to Lieutenant on October 17, 2002 and to Captain on February 1, 2008. Captain Riley was the shift Captain in charge of Group 2 at the time of his retirement. Captain Richard Smith retired from the department on January 28 after serving for more than 42 years with the department and 45 years with the Town of Wakefield, having worked several years with the Department of Public Works before becoming a firefighter. Smith was appointed a Permanent Firefighter with the department on June 30, 1973. He was promoted to Lieutenant on June 26, 1986 and to Captain on April 17, 2003. Captain Smith was the senior member of the department upon his retirement. The department will miss Captain Riley’s and Captain Smith’s considerable knowledge and experience and we wish them a long and healthy retirement with their families.

The retirement of Captain Joseph Riley resulted in the promotion of Lieutenant Brian Purcell to Captain and Firefighter Christopher Crogan to Lieutenant. Captain Brain Purcell is a fourteen year veteran of the department. He has been assigned as the new Captain for Group 2. Lieutenant Christopher Crogan is a sixteen year veteran of the department and has been assigned as a Lieutenant on Group 4 at the Greenwood Fire Station. The retirement of Captain Richard Smith resulted in the promotion of Lieutenant Christopher Smith to Captain and Firefighter Robert Ford to Lieutenant. Captain Christopher Smith is a twenty-one year veteran of the department. He has been assigned as the New Captain serving as Fire Prevention Officer to replace Captain Thomas Purcell, who will serve as the new Captain for Group 3. Firefighter Robert Ford is a ten year veteran of the department and has been assigned to Group 2 as the ladder truck Lieutenant. The department congratulates these members on their promotions and new assignments and looks forward to working with them in their new capacities.

All four duty groups reviewed standard operating guidelines for cold water rescue and precautions to be taken to safeguard fire apparatus during the cold weather. A class on the medical assessment of patients with suspected spinal injuries was delivered to all four groups. EMS coordinator Gary Hill worked with the department members whose Emergency Medical Technicians certificates were up for renewal this April, ensuring that all members due this year will be certified. The department also took delivery of a new combination cutter/spreader hydraulic rescue tool to replace an old worn out unit. This tool was paid for through a combination of federal grant funds as well as a generous donation from the Wakefield Rotary Club.

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