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September 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 344 emergency incidents during the month of September including 35 box alarms and 309 still alarms.

The department responded to eleven requests for mutual aid during September, three times to Melrose, twice each to Saugus, Stoneham and Revere, and once each to Andover and Woburn. It received mutual aid eight times in September three times from Lynnfield, twice from Reading and once each from Melrose, Stoneham and Saugus.

The communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover were rocked by numerous explosions when a natural gas pipeline became over-pressurized during the afternoon of September 13. These communities experienced more than seventy structure fires and explosions within minutes, quickly overwhelming them. The effectiveness of the state’s mutual aid system was displayed in a stunning fashion, with over 300 pieces of fire apparatus being dispatched to the area within an hour from fire department from all over the region including New Hampshire and Maine. Wakefield Engine 1 with Lt. Cliff Silva and Firefighters Christopher Curran, Roberta Taggart and Kevin Wesley were dispatched along with Chief Michael Sullivan to the staging area in the parking lot of the Andover High School as part of a combined task force of more than two dozen fire apparatus from the area. These units were subsequently dispatched to dozens of calls received by the Andover Fire Department over the next several hours as the incident progressed through the evening before it was finally contained and brought under control. It is extremely comforting to know that such a vast array of resources are available to a local fire department should such an incident occur here.

A crew from Engine under Lieutenant David Shinney assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 76 Lincoln Street during the morning of September 9. Lieutenant Michael Long responded to the 135 American Legion Highway in the City of Revere during the afternoon of September 11 as part of the Massachusetts District 2 Hazardous Material Response Team to help mitigate an ammonia leak at that location. Firefighters from Engine 2 under Acting Lieutenant Jonathan O’Brien and Lieutenant John Mercurio responded to a 5-alarm fire at 10 Franklin Avenue in Revere during the evening of September 16. Lieutenant Robert Taggart and a crew from Engine 2 covered a vacant Stoneham fire station during a gas leak in that community during the afternoon of September 13. Firefighters under the command of Lieutenant Sean Curran assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 209 Lynn Fells Parkway during the early evening of September 21. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Robert Taggart covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in the community during the afternoon of September 28.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported structure fire at 149 Water Street at approximately 9:40 A.M. on September 15. Firefighter found a fire inside a first floor apartment which was quickly extinguished. The fire created a significant smoke condition throughout the common hallway and stairwells on the 6-unit apartment building. The fire did not extend beyond the room of origin but was severe enough to displace the four occupants of that apartment. The remainder of the occupants were able to remain in the building. The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist the displaced occupants. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental resulting from the overcharging of non-chargeable batteries inside the room of origin. The batteries overheated and exploded, causing the fire. The department received mutual aid from the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene while engines from Saugus and Reading covered fire headquarters.

The Fire Prevention Bureau continues to the monitor many construction projects in town. A final fire alarm and sprinkler inspection for the school was scheduled for September 1 with some minor work to be completed in the gymnasium area remaining. The construction of the 34-unit condominium building at 3 Bennet Street is progressing well, the building’s five-story structure has been completely framed and enclosed. The structural steel for the apartment building at 640 Main Street is rapidly being assembled. All duty groups completed their allotted on-going Emergency Medical Training during September. Fire drills were conducted in all public and private school buildings during September. All of the department’s vehicles successfully passed their Registry of Motor vehicle safety inspections this month.

August 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 308 emergency incidents during the month of August including 31 box alarms and 277 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during August, once each to Lynnfield and Melrose. It received mutual aid three times in August, once each from Melrose, Reading and Stoneham.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported vehicle fire on Route 95 south near the off ramp to Exit 39 during the afternoon of August 31. Firefighters found a pick-up truck that had crashed off of the highway and landed in the nearby woods. The truck was fully involved and required several tanks of water as well as the use of firefighting foam to extinguish. The Reading Fire Department assisted with the extinguishment of this fire and also treated and transported the vehicle operator to an area hospital. Remarkably the driver was not seriously injured.

The same group of firefighters responded to a significant natural gas leak in the area of 910 Main Street during the evening of August 31. Firefighters working with members of the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department quickly discovered a leak in an underground gas line owned by National Grid. Department members gained entry to numerous buildings in the vicinity of the leak to check for natural gas. Fortunately no dangerous levels of natural gas were found inside any of these buildings and the situation was handled by employees from National Grid.

The Fire Prevention Bureau continues to the monitor many construction projects in town. Renovations at the Walton School are completed with just some minor details to be completed. A final fire alarm and sprinkler inspection for the school was scheduled for September 1. With the completion of the Walton School renovation, only the Doyle School remains for public schools to be equipped with fire sprinklers, a project which has been on the capital improvement project list for several years. The construction of the 34-unit condominium building at 3 Bennet Street is progressing well, with a majority of the building’s five-story structure complete. The structural steel for the apartment building at 640 Main Street is rapidly being assembled. The remainder of the buildings at 61 Melvin Street, the site of the former Crystal Chemical Packing Company, were razed during August to make room for the construction of five townhouses. The department’s remaining duty groups completed a joint training with the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department conducted by the Northeast Public Power Association on electrical safety around high voltage facilities during the Month of August.

A group of children taking part in the summer school program at the Galvin Middle School toured the police and fire stations at the Public Safety Building on August 1.

July 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 320 emergency incidents during the month of July including 28 box alarms and 292 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during July, all of them to Saugus. It received mutual aid three times in July, twice from Lynnfield and once from Melrose. A crew from Engine 2 consisting of Lieutenant Michael Long, Firefighter Jonathan O’Brien and Firefighter Timothy Donovan assisted the Saugus fire department search for a missing person in Silver Lake in Breakheart Reservation during the afternoon of July 4. Sadly a 20 year old male drowned in the lake while swimming and was recovered by Saugus firefighters with the help of this crew utilizing the department’s rubber Avon fire boat. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the command of Acting Lieutenant Gary Hill assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 81 Juniper Drive during the early afternoon of July 10. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Robert Ford assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a house fire at 7 Falmouth Street during the evening of July 25. Lieutenant Sean Curran and a crew from Engine 2 assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a house fire at 103 Essex Street during the evening of July 29.

A crew from Engine 1 consisting of Acting Lieutenant Gary Hill, Firefighter Rusty Ricker and Firefighter Jonathan Murphy came to the assistance of an elderly male who had fallen down a steep embankment on the shore of Lake Quannapowitt near the intersection of Main Street and Aborn Avenue during the afternoon of July 24. The man suffered multiple cuts and abrasions during the fall, landing in some heavy brush right at the shore line. He was assisted back to Main Street via a ladder and transported to an area hospital for follow-up care. Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell returned to Lake Quannapowitt during the afternoon of July 25 to rescue a sailor in distress in the waters off of Main Street near Lakeshore Drive. A large sailboat had overturned and could not be righted by the single occupant. Firefighters launched the Boston Whaler fire boat, rescuing the sailor from the water. The department worked with the Quannapowitt Yacht Club to attempt to refloat the vessel however due to its size the boat had to left capsized for the time being until a larger support vessel from the Yacht Club could arrive to assist in its removal.

The Fire Prevention Bureau has been very busy in July monitoring various construction projects. A final fire inspection of the new Tonno’s restaurant located on the first floor of the Wakefield Station development at 175 North Avenue was completed on July 6. Construction operations are progressing well at the Walton School, a 34-unit condominium building at 3 Bennet Street and an apartment building at 640 Main Street. Demolition of the former Wakefield Corporation building at 69 Foundry Street has been completed to prepare for the construction of a new 81-unit apartment building at that location. The buildings at 12 Valley Street, 205 water Street and 209 Water Street were also razed in July to make way for the construction of a new 1000-unit self-storage facility there. Several groups participated in a joint training with the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department conducted by the Northeast Public Power Association on electrical safety around high voltage facilities during the Month of July.

A group of children taking part in the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office summer camp program toured the police and fire stations at the Public Safety Building on July 11.

June 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 309 emergency incidents during the month of June including 30 box alarms and 279 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during June, both time to Saugus. It received mutual aid one time during June from Saugus. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Joe Albert assisted the Saugus fire department at a structure fire during the morning of June 8. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Michael Long returned to Saugus to render assistance to that department during a major gas line rupture at 44 Lincoln Street during the morning of June 18.

Despite a relatively cool and wet spring the vegetation in the region dried out during June as temperatures rose into the 90’s for the first time this year. As a result, grass and brush is now more susceptible to ignition sources such as discarded cigarettes and campfires. Wakefield firefighters from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant David Shinney responded to a reported odor of smoke in the Harrison Avenue are of Greenwood during the afternoon of June 17. An investigation of the area revealed a small brush fire in the woods behind Blueberry Lane. A unit from the Saugus Fire Department assisted at the scene of the one acre fire that extended in the Golden Hills area of that community. The fire was quickly extinguished with no subsequent rekindling or hot spots discovered during the following day.

The Fire Prevention Bureau is monitoring construction work related to a new restaurant to be known as Tonno’s on the first floor of the Wakefield Station development at 175 North Avenue. Construction operations are well under way at the Walton School and are being closely monitored by fire prevention as well. All groups continued their Emergency Medical Technician continuing education classes during the Month of June.

The department conducted training with its two fire boats during the month of June. All duty groups conducted a walk-through of the commercial building located at 360 Audubon Road during the month of June. The department participated in an emergency drill at the Bear Hill Nursing center on June 14. This drill simulated several different scenarios including a partial evacuation of the nursing home as well as an exercise during which the facility practiced procedures necessary to receive patients from another nursing facility. The drill was very instructional and the lessons learned from it will be used to improve the home’s emergency plan.

Multiple drills were conducted by the department in conjunction with the Wakefield Police Department, Action Ambulance and other departments concerning the practice of procedures related to incidents involving the presence of Active Shooters. Several drills were conducted behind the Northeast Regional Vocational School with Wakefield Police and Action Ambulance personnel during the evening of June 25 and 27. Scenarios included vehicle stops involving shooters and one incident involving the presence of Fentanyl discovered inside a vehicle. The Reading Police and Fire Departments also conducted multi-agency drills that the department participated in on June 21 and 25. While it is sad that these drills are necessary they serve as a valuable learning experiences that improves operating procedures and cooperation between responding agencies, possibly saving lives of citizens and first responders involved in this type of incident.

Firefighters from Engine 5 visited with and talked to children at the KinderCare Children’s Center at 607 North Avenue on the morning of June 18. Kindergarteners from the Dolbeare and Woodville Elementary Schools helped the crew helped firefighters wash their truck on June 8 and 11.

May 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 296 emergency incidents during the month of May including 33 box alarms and 263 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during May, once each to Chelsea and Reading. It received mutual aid seven times during May, three times from Lynnfield and twice each from Reading and Stoneham. A crew from Engine 2 led by Acting Lieutenant John Hurley responded to a 6-alarm fire at 10 John Street in Chelsea during the afternoon of May 2. More than a hundred firefighters responded to this fire which destroyed at least three triple decker residential buildings on a very windy day. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Lieutenant Cliff Silva assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a stubborn 2-alarm fire at 24 Putnam Road during the evening of May 16.

Wakefield firefighters led by Acting Captain Sean Curran responded to a reported fire in an apartment building at 9 Columbia Road during the morning of May 24. On arrival, firefighters found an oven fire inside a third floor apartment, which they quickly extinguished. The fire was contained to the stove but caused considerable smoke damage throughout the third floor. The apartment where the fire started was undergoing renovations at the time and was not occupied. There were no injuries as a result of the fire and no building occupants were displaced.

The Fire Prevention Bureau is monitoring construction work related to a new restaurant to be known as Tonno’s on the first floor of the Wakefield Station development at 175 North Avenue. Construction operations are well under way at the Walton School and are being closely monitored by fire prevention as well. All groups continued their Emergency Medical Technician continuing education classes during the Month of May. The department completed its annual hose testing and conducted a final round of fire drills in all public and private school buildings during May. Firefighters visited with and talked to children at the Tall Spire Nursery School during the morning of May 23 and 24. A group of children helped the crew of Ladder 1 wash the truck at the Doyle School on May 31.

April 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 287 emergency incidents during the month of April including 36 box alarms and 251 still alarms.

The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during April, once each to Lynnfield, Malden, Melrose, Reading and Stoneham. It received mutual aid four times during April, twice each from Reading and Stoneham. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant John Walsh covered a vacant Lynnfield fire station during an incident in that community on April 7. A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Lou Sardella covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during the morning of April 10. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Lieutenant John Mercurio assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 13 Berkley Street during the evening of April 12. Lieutenant Joseph Albert along with a crew from Engine 2 covered a vacant Malden fire station during a multiple alarm fire in that city on the morning of April 18.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a report of a structure fire at 2-2A Newell Road in Wakefield during the afternoon of April 12. Firefighters arrived to find the rear of the two-family residence burning. Crews quickly extinguished the fire, containing it primarily to the rear wall and rear porch areas. There was minimal extension of fire into the structure, however, the fire caused considerable smoke damage inside both apartments. Power had to be disconnected to the building, resulting in the displacement of approximately ten building occupants. The Red Cross was summoned to the scene to assist these displaced occupants. The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental, most likely caused by the careless disposal of smoking materials next to the rear porch. One firefighter received a minor injury as a result of the fire. A Stoneham fire engine responded to the scene to assist firefighter while a Reading engine covered Wakefield Fire headquarters.

Wakefield firefighters led by Captain Paul Pronco responded to 37 Cordis Street during the late evening of April 24 in response to a report of a large shed on fire in the rear yard. Firefighters arrived to find the outside wall of the shed on fire and extending into the structure. The fire was quickly extinguished confining it to the area of origin. There was considerable smoke damage to the shed although the structure itself was saved. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. An investigation determined the cause to be the careless disposal of smoking materials.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a report of a house fire at 125 Pleasant Street on the morning of April 27. On arrival, crews were met with heavy smoke and high heat conditions within the home. The resulting zero visibility conditions made the fire difficult to locate at first. The fire was eventually located in a dining room on the first floor and extinguished. The home was not occupied during the fire as it was undergoing extensive renovations. The house was outfitted with energy efficient windows and was fully insulated, allowing it to hold in the heat of the fire and filling it to the floor level with smoke. Rapid and extensive ventilation of windows throughout the home prevented a potential backdraft from taking place. The fire itself was contained to the first floor dining room and adjoining walls and floor, but caused heavy smoke and heat damage throughout the structure. The home is structurally intact and can be rebuilt. The family was not displaced as a result of the fire as they were already relocated due to the renovations, however, their return to the home will be significantly delayed until all of the repairs can be made. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. The cause is still under investigation but has been determined to be accidental.

April brought significant changes to personnel within the department. Captain Christopher Smith officially resigned from the department after 23 years of service, creating an opening for a Fire Captain and a Fire Lieutenant. As a result Fire Lieutenant John Walsh was promoted to Fire Captain and Firefighter Daniel Hancock was promoted to Fire Lieutenant during a short ceremony at Wakefield Fire Headquarters on April 9. Walsh is a thirteen year member of the department and has been assigned as the department’s new Fire Prevention Officer. Hancock is a seven year member of the department and has been assigned to Group 1 under Captain Randy Hudson. The department congratulates these members on their promotions and looks forward to working with them on their new assignments.

Newly appointed Captain Walsh started his duties as Fire Prevention Officer on April 12. He is busy conducting licensing inspections for group homes and day care centers and will be taking several training classes related to his new assignment in May. A new restaurant at 979 Main Street, known as Tequila’s, received its final fire inspection during April. The Fire Prevention Bureau is currently reviewing plans for another restaurant, Tonno’s, to be located at the Wakefield Station development at 175 North Avenue. Construction operations have commenced at the Walton School and are being closely monitored by fire prevention as well. All groups have commenced their annual Emergency Medical Technician continuing education classes. The department has also commenced its annual hose testing which will continue through the month of May.

March 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 345 emergency incidents during the month of March including 35 box alarms and 310 still alarms.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during March, twice each to Melrose and Reading. It received mutual aid five times during March, twice from Lynnfield and once each from Melrose, Stoneham and Reading. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Robert Taggart assisted the Melrose fire department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 504 Lebanon Street in that City during the evening of March 3. A crew from Engine 1under lieutenant Cliff Silva covered Reading Fire Headquarters during the early evening of March 7. Firefighters from Engine 1 under Lieutenant Cliff Silva assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 232 Salem Street in that community during the morning of March 8. Lieutenant John Walsh along with a crew from Engine 1 covered a vacant Lynnfield station during an incident in that community on the morning of March 14.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a report of a structure fire at 2 Auburn Street in Wakefield during the early morning of March 9. Firefighters arrived to find a fire in progress on the front porch of the residence. Crews quickly extinguished the fire, containing it to a relatively small area of the front porch. There was no structural damage to the residence as the fire never extended beyond the area of origin. The single family residence was vacant at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire remains suspicious and is under investigation by both local and state fire investigators. There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

The Fire Prevention Bureau carefully reviewed plans for a major construction project involving 27 and 37 Water Street. This project will result in the conversion of the second floor of 37 water Street into four residential units and the additional conversion of the second, third and fourth floors of 27 water Street into 42 apartments. The first floor and basement areas of both commercial buildings will remain office spaces. Plans are also being reviewed for a new 4 story 1,000 unit self-storage facility at 205-209 Water Street. The department conducted fit tests for all department members personal face pieces for their self-contained breathing apparatus during the month of March.

February 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 268 emergency incidents during the month of February including 28 box alarms and 239 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during February, once each to Revere and Stoneham. It received mutual aid one time during February from Melrose. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant John Mercurio covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during the morning of February 15 while that department handled a refrigerant leak at the Stop & Shop building on Main Street. Lieutenant Michael Long responded to this incident as well as a member of the Massachusetts District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team when the team was called out to mitigate the leak. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Sean Curran responded to a 4-alarm fire at 61 Squire Road in Revere during the early evening of February 17. This fast-moving fire destroyed the large Sozio appliance building as well as a number of outbuildings, storage trailers and vehicles.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a report of smoke pouring from the roof eaves of the residence at 2 Norway Street in Wakefield during the afternoon of February 8. Firefighters arrived to find a chimney fire in progress in the residence caused when a heavy creosote build-up ignited inside the flu used to vent a wood-burning stove ignited. Crews quickly extinguished the fire inside the stove allowing the creosote to burn itself out. All areas of the resident adjacent to the chimney were closely monitored and there was no extension of fire beyond the chimney. Fire damage was contained to the chimney and its associated lining. There were no injuries as a result of the fire and the residents were able to remain in the home after the fire was extinguished.

The Fire Prevention Bureau conducted final fire alarm inspections of the sixty condominium units located at the Wakefield Station project at 175 North Avenue on February 26. The project, including 60 condominium units, a parking garage for residents and three new commercial spaces, received its final fire inspections on March 2.

January 2018

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 355 emergency incidents during the month of January including 50 box alarms and 305 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during January, once each to Melrose, Saugus and Waltham. It received mutual aid eight times during January, twice from Stoneham and once each from Lynnfield, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Saugus and Woburn. A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Sean Curran assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 2300 Founders way at noon on January 10. Lt. Michael Long responded to 101 Clematis Avenue in Waltham as a member of the Massachusetts District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team during the afternoon of January 15. The team was called out to assist the Waltham Fire Department with the extinguishment of a fire in a container filled with aluminum shavings located at the site of a welding business.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a structure fire at 7 Furness Circle in Wakefield during the afternoon of January 26. The fire was discovered by an occupant returning home from food shopping at 12:24 P.M. Firefighters arrived in three minutes to find a fire on the first floor in the kitchen area inside the single family home that had created a dense smoke condition throughout the home. A second alarm was struck bringing additional firefighters from Melrose, North Reading, Reading and Stoneham to the scene. The first arriving firefighters did an excellent job of quickly knocking down the fire, confining it primarily to the kitchen area and adjoining concealed wall and ceiling spaces. Heavy smoke resulted in zero visibility conditions during the fire, requiring firefighters to break open many windows and cut a hole in the roof to vent the residence of smoke. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. The four occupants of the home will be displaced for an extended period until repairs can be made to the building. A total of four pets were rescued from the home, including two cats rescued by firefighters shortly after their arrival. The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental possibly involving the failure of a kitchen appliance or wiring.

All groups continued to conduct ice rescue training during January. All groups conducted walk through familiarization tours of the new apartment building at 600 North Avenue as well as the ongoing Wakefield Station construction project at 175 North Avenue. All of the department’s self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) was flow-tested by an outside vendor during January. The department’s air compressor, used to refill air bottles for SCBA was also inspected and tested. Both the SCBA units and the compressor successfully passed their inspections.

Firefighter Joseph Treacy successfully graduated from the ten-week recruit training program at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on January 22, 2018. Firefighter Treacy has been assigned to Group 1 under Captain Randy Hudson. The department welcomes Firefighter Treacy to the department and wished him a long and productive career in the fire service.

The Fire Prevention Bureau continues to monitor construction work at the Wakefield Station project located at 175 North Avenue. This project, when completed, will contain 60 condominium units, a parking garage for residents and three new commercial spaces.

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