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December 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 331 emergency incidents during the month of December including 38 box alarms and 293 still alarms. The calendar year 2019 ended with a record-setting 4,002 emergency responses for the department. The department has been experiencing an increase in requests for service over the past several years, a trend likely to continue as the town realizes the impact of the ongoing construction projects in its residential and commercial properties.

The department responded to four requests for mutual aid during December, twice to Stoneham and once each to Lynnfield and Melrose. It received mutual aid six times in December, three times from Lynnfield, twice from Stoneham and once from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Michael Long covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during the afternoon of December 15 while that department was tied up with multiple emergency calls. Later the same day, the same crew under Lieutenant Long covered Melrose Fire Headquarters when that department became tied up with numerous calls.

Firefighters from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Joseph Albert responded to the scene of a work-related accident at 37 Greenwood Street during the morning of December 10. Upon arrival, firefighters quickly discovered that a 34 year old male had fallen to the ground during a tree removal process, striking his head. Sadly, the man’s injuries were very severe resulting in his death.

Crews led by Captain Randy Hudson responded to a report of wires down in the area of Bellevue Road and Morrison Avenue during the afternoon of December 16. Firefighters arrived within several minutes to find that a crane truck had caught a low electrical cable and as a result snapped a utility pole in half. The crane was then covered with energized power lines, forcing the driver to remain in the vehicle until workers from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department were able to render the area safe. The driver was not injured during this incident and the crane was able to drive away after it had been freed from the power lines.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported house fire at 21 Forrester Road during the morning of December 30. Firefighters arrived the main electrical service to the home on fire. Firefighters entered the home finding a moderate smoke condition throughout the residence. The Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department was called to the scene to shut down the power to the residence at the utility pole. Firefighters were then able to access the siding around the main electrical service and extinguish the residual fires burning in the wooden siding. Investigation of the scene soon revealed that the electrical cable going into the house service had worn through and failed causing extensive arcing in that area. There was no fire extension to any other areas of the building and no injuries as a result of the fire. Smoke was quickly vented from the building once the fire was extinguished.

The Department received a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Department of Fire Services in the amount of $2,475 in State Fiscal Year 2020 funding from the Firefighter Turnout Gear Grant Program for the purchase of 25 sets of firefighting gloves for its department members. This grant will supply the department members with an additional set of gloves that can be worn whenever their first set of gloves are damaged or are in need of cleaning because they have been used at a fire or any other incident involving hazardous materials. This gear will help protect department members from the immediate risks associated with fighting fires in dangerous environments and protect them from the delayed risks of occupational cancers caused by exposure to then toxic chemicals produced during fires. Recent studies have indicated that the risk to firefighters can be reduced significantly by washing contaminated protective gear as soon as possible after returning from a fire or hazardous chemical incident. The department is pleased to receive this grant and will distribute the firefighting gloves to those members in need of a second set.

The Department also received a Fiscal Year 2018 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $195,229. This three-year personnel grant will partially und an additional firefighter for the department to backfill the vacancy created by the creation of a new Deputy Fire Chief position. The SAFER grant will fund 65% of the cost of salary and benefits for this entry level firefighter for calendar years 2020 and 2021 and 35% of the cost of the firefighter for calendar year 2022.

November 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 338 emergency incidents during the month of November including 45 box alarms and 293 still alarms.

The department responded to two requests for mutual aid during November, once each to Melrose and Stoneham. It received mutual aid six times in November, four times from Reading and twice from Lynnfield. A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Michael Long assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a two-alarm house fire at 146 North Street during the afternoon of November 6.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a fire alarm activation at Sabatino’s Restaurant, located at 330 Main Street during the late afternoon of November 1. Firefighters arrived within one minute to find a smoke condition inside a bathroom at the rear of the restaurant as well as the basement area and crawl space underneath it. Firefighters soon discovered a smoldering fire burning inside the wall around an exterior opening made for a drainpipe. A small pile of trash and combustibles had ignited in the exterior wall creating the smoke condition. The wall opening was widened and the fire was quickly extinguished. There was no fire extension to any other areas of the building and no injuries as a result of the fire. Smoke was quickly vented from the building once the fire was extinguished. The cause of the fire was determined to be the careless disposal of a cigarette that had been discarded and fallen into the opening adjacent to the drainpipe.

A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Dan Hancock responded to a serious motor vehicle accident with injuries on North Avenue at the route 95 bridge during the early evening of November 29. Firefighters arrived to find a five car accident that began with 2 vehicles just past the highway bridge and ended up with three more vehicles involved further down Walkers Brook Drive. Wakefield firefighters assisted crews from Reading Fire, Woburn Fire, Cataldo Ambulance, Action Ambulance and Armstrong Ambulance treating and transporting multiple injured occupants from the vehicles to area hospitals.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections during the month of November. All groups received emergency medical training during the month of November as part of their on-going continuing education for their Emergency Medical Technicians certificates. The Department placed into service this month two new QRAE-3 multi-gas detectors purchased by the department to monitor levels of hazardous gases including sulfur-dioxide, natural gas and carbon monoxide. The detectors also monitor the level of oxygen in the air at an incident. These detectors have replaced several older units that have worn out.

An evacuation drill was conducted on November 7 for the Wakefield High School. A large group of preschool children from the Doyle Early Education Center visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on November 18 and 19. Chief Sullivan participated in the Wakefield 101 event for new Wakefield residents at the Beebe Library held on the evening of November 21. Chief Sullivan participated in a federal Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant (AFG) workshop conducted on November 22 at Market Street in Lynnfield. The department will be applying for an AFG grant later this winter.

A committee was convened during the fall of this year to examine the town’s existing ambulance contract, scheduled to expire at the end of November. The committee consisted of police Chief Skory, Fire Chief Michael Sullivan, Emergency manager Thomas Walsh and Town Administrator Stephen Maio. Wakefield Firefighter Gary Hill, the department’s EMS Coordinator, served as a non-voting technical advisor to the committee. The committee convened and after careful consideration, decided that it was time to place Wakefield’s ambulance contract out to bid. The contract had been held by Action Ambulance for the past 20 years and was in need of updating to reflect the changes in the industry that have occurred over that time period. A request for proposals was developed and put out to bid in September. Five ambulance companies responded with their bid requests by the required date in October. The committee reconvened and examined all five proposals. Each company was rated on their dispatch capabilities and response capabilities including their capacity to provide back-up coverage. While all of the bidding companies met the expectations specified in the bid, the committee decided that Cataldo Ambulance was best suited to provide for the town’s emergency medical response needs going forward. As a result, the town signed an agreement with Cataldo Ambulance that became effective at midnight on November 28.

October 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 373 emergency incidents during the month of October including 51 box alarms and 322 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during October, four times to Melrose and once each to Reading and Stoneham. It received mutual aid eight times in October, five times from Stoneham and once each from Lynnfield, Melrose and Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Christopher Crogan assisted the Stoneham Fire department at the scene of a structure fire at 16 Flint Avenue during the afternoon of October 12. Lieutenant John Mercurio led a crew from Engine 1 that covered Reading Fire Headquarters during a structure fire at 75 Cross Street in that community during the early morning of October 17.

Wakefield has hit by a significant wind storm during the evening of October 16-17 and the following day. The department responded to numerous call for assistance for wires arcing in trees, downed wires and downed trees. Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a residence at 47 Montrose Avenue shortly after 3 A.M. when a resident there reported an odor of smoke inside the home. Firefighters quickly determined that a tree had fallen in the yard partially pulling the electrical service away from the home and in the process causing the electrical wiring in it to overheat and arc. The Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department responded and disconnected power to the residence. Firefighters checked the home with thermal imaging cameras and determined that the damage did not extend beyond the home’s electrical wiring.

Captain Thomas Purcell led firefighters responding to a reported fire at 105 Hopkins Street during the early afternoon of October 18. Firefighters discovered a fire burning in the wall of an outside balcony to one of the second floor units and quickly extinguished it with a hose line. The entire area of the balcony in the vicinity of the fire was opened up and checked to make sure that the fire did not extend beyond this area. There were no injuries to either firefighters or building occupants and no one was displaced as a result of the fire. The cause of the fire was determined to the careless disposal of a cigarette that had been discarded on the balcony.

The department participated in a variety of rescue-related calls during the month of October. Firefighters under Captain Randy Hudson extricated several occupants from a stalled elevator at the Colonial Point Apartments on October 12. Group 3 firefighters led by Captain Thomas Purcell freed a man whose hand was trapped between the wheel well and tire of a vehicle on October 13. Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell removed seven occupants from a stalled elevator at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel on October 17. Crews led by Captain Paul Pronco assisted several occupants of a capsized catamaran on Lake Quannapowitt during the late afternoon of October 18. The boat had overturned and become stuck in the mud at the bottom of the lake. Firefighters launched the Boston Whaler fire boat and assisted the boater right the catamaran and towing it to the boat ramp at Veteran’s Field.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections during the month of October. Department members received training in October in proper emergency vehicle extrication techniques used for saving removing trapped occupants involved in motor vehicle crash. All groups received emergency medical training during the month of October as part of their on-going continuing education for their Emergency Medical Technicians certificates. Department members received training on the proper use and maintenance of two new QRAE-3 multi-gas detectors purchased by the department to monitor levels of hazardous gases including sulfur-dioxide, natural gas and carbon monoxide. The detectors also monitor the level of oxygen in the air at an incident. These detectors will replace several of the current ones that have worn out.

Fire drills were conducted in all Wakefield public and private schools during the month of October. Evacuation drills were also conducted in October for the Woodville, Greenwood, Walton, Dolbeare, Doyle and Vocational Schools. A large group of children from the Canterbury Preschool visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on October 10 and 11. Kindergarten children from the Greenwood Elementary School visited the Greenwood Fire Station on October 25.

Chief Sullivan participated in a table-top exercise at the Genesis at Wakefield Nursing Home facility on Bathol Street in Greenwood that reviewed the steps necessary to shelter its patients in place during a simulated chemical spill in the neighborhood. Chief Sullivan also participated in an evacuation drill at the Brightview Senior Assisted Living Facility on October 24. During this drill the entire population of Brightview residents was evacuated to the front lawn to allow employees to review and practice the necessary steps related to that emergency procedure. Both drills were successful and increased the staff’s preparedness to handle emergencies involving a partial or total evacuation of their facilities.

September 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 306 emergency incidents during the month of September including 34 box alarms and 272 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during September, twice to Reading and once to Lynnfield. It received mutual aid two times in September, both times from Reading. A crew from Engine 1 under Lieutenant Dan Hancock covered a Lynnfield fire station during an incident involving a hazardous materials spill in the community during the early evening of September 11. Lieutenant John Mercurio led another crew from Engine 1 that covered reading Fire Headquarters during a natural gas leak in that community during the early morning of September 15. A crew from Engine 1 under Lieutenant John Mercurio covered Reading Fire Headquarters during the early morning of September 24 while firefighters in that community handled a structure fire at 59 Howard Street.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections during the month of September. All department members had their face pieces for their self-contained breathing apparatus fit-tested in September. This annual test is required to ensure that the face pieces fit properly and will protect the firefighters while they are using their breathing apparatus in a hazardous environment. Fire drills were conducted in all Wakefield public and private schools during the month of September. Several groups received training in September in proper emergency vehicle extrication techniques used for saving removing trapped occupants involved in motor vehicle crashes. All department members received emergency medical training in techniques used during the rescue of firefighters who are unresponsive and require removal from inside a building during a fire. The class includes how to conduct CPR on a downed firefighter in full protective gear. All duty shifts received additional emergency medical training on Prehospital Trauma Care as part of their on-going continuing education for their Emergency Medical Technicians certificates.

August 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 345 emergency incidents during the month of August including 32 box alarms and 313 still alarms.

The department responded to seven requests for mutual aid during August, three times to Woburn, twice to Lynnfield and once each to Melrose and Stoneham. It received mutual aid four times in August, twice from Stoneham and once each from Lynnfield and Reading. A crew from Engine 1 under the direction of Lieutenant Phil Preston covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that city on the evening of August 4. Firefighters from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Joseph Albert covered a vacant Lynnfield fire station during the morning of August 5. A crew from Engine 1 under Lieutenant John Mercurio covered a Lynnfield fire station during a serious motor vehicle accident in the community during the evening of August 11. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Acting Lieutenant Gary Hill assisted the Woburn Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire on Sturgis Street during the early morning of August 16. A crew from Engine 5 led by Lieutenant Dan Hancock covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that city on the evening of August 26.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a reported kitchen fire at 37 Jefferson Avenue during the afternoon of August 25. On arrival, firefighters found a fire in the oven that was starting to extend into the kitchen. The fire was quickly put out using a portable fire extinguisher. It created a heavy smoke condition throughout the residence but did not extend beyond the oven. The cause of the fire was determined to be the accidental ignition of some plastic cooking materials inadvertently left inside the oven when it was turned onto its pre-heat cycle. There were no injuries and the residents were able to remain in the home after the fire.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections during the month of August. All duty groups conducted a walk-thru of the new 1000 unit self-storage facility at 205 Water Street as well as the Walton School during the month of August. All department members were briefed by Tracy Ascolillo of Eliot Community Services, who has been retained By Wakefield and the City of Lynn to work as a recovery coach on an outpatient basis with citizens struggling with substance abuse issues. Tracy’s presentation was very informative and will help the department in its interaction with citizens battling addiction. Chief Sullivan assisted the staff at Brightview Senior Assisted Living facility at 21 Crescent Street with a table-top disaster exercise. The exercise, designed to test the facility’s readiness in the event of an emergency, involved a hypothetical fire in the Unitarian Universalist Church located adjacent to Brightview and how the staff would handle a potential evacuation of the building. The exercise was both informative and beneficial to all those who participated.

Firefighter Joseph Treacy received a letter of commendation from the department for his actions in rendering aid to an injured motorist during the afternoon of August 14. Firefighter Treacy went to the man’s aid after he suffered a medical issue and struck the vehicle that Firefighter Treacy was operating. Firefighter Treacy, who was off-duty at the time, noticed that the man was having a seizure, forced entry into the vehicle, placed the vehicle into park and rendered medical assistance to him until the arrival of on-duty Wakefield firefighters and Action Ambulance paramedics.

July 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 385 emergency incidents during the month of July including 44 box alarms and 341 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during July, three times to Stoneham, twice to Melrose and once to Woburn. It received mutual aid five times in July, three times from Lynnfield and twice from Stoneham. A crew from Engine 1 under the direction of Lieutenant Phil Preston covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that city on the evening of July 5. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Albert assisted the Stoneham Fire Department during a 3-alarm fire in a large horse barn at 25 Emery Court during the evening of July 27. Sadly a horse died as a result of this fire. A second crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Albert assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire in a two-family residence at 13 Pomworth Street during the afternoon of July 30.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a reported kitchen fire at 147 Parker Road during the early evening of July 11. On arrival, firefighters found that the homeowner had discovered a fire on the stove top and extinguished it. The fire created a smoke condition in the residence and damaged the adjoining counter top and carpet but did not extend beyond the immediate area of the stove. One of the homeowners suffered some minor burns to her fingers and right foot and was treated at the scene. The cause of the fire was determined to be an unattended tea kettle that had ignited and melted, dripping burning plastic onto the adjoining counter and carpet areas.

Another group of firefighters led by Captain Thomas Purcell rescued a dog in distress from Lake Quannapowitt in the area of the Spaulding Street Playground during the early evening of July 13. The dog had strayed too far from shore and required assistance getting back. Department members equipped with a survival suits and safety rope were able to reach the dog and bring it safely to shore.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a report of a vehicle fire in close proximity to a house at 8 Coolidge Road during the evening of July 22. On arrival, firefighters found that the homeowner had managed to knock down the flames with a garden hose, preventing it from extending to the nearby home. The remaining fire was quickly extinguished with no injuries to either the residents or firefighters. The cause of the fire was suspected to be the careless disposal of smoking materials inside the vehicle.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections during the month of July. The department’s pumper engines were inspected and passed their annual pumping service tests on July 9. The aerial ladder as well as all of the department’s ground ladders were tested and passed inspection on July 30. All duty groups conducted a walk-thru of the National Grid substation on Montrose Avenue during the month of July.

A group of children from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Annual Safety Camp visited Wakefield Police and Fire Headquarters on July 10. The children got a tour of the Public Safety Building and later on got to spray water from a fire hose. The Department participated in a summer safety event sponsored by the Middlesex District Attorney’s office during the early evening of July 18 on the Lower Common. The event was well attended and there were emergency vehicles on hand for the children to climb on. A group of children from the Wakefield summer school program visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on the morning of July 23. A group of children from the Wakefield Boys and Girls Club received a visit from the crew of ladder 1 during the afternoon of July 31.

The Wakefield Fire Department has a new Administrative Assistant, Ms. Anne Boodry. Anne has transferred over from the Treasurer’s office and is adjusting well in her new position. The Department welcomes Anne and wishes her well in her new role.

June 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 322 emergency incidents during the month of June including 29 box alarms and 293 still alarms.

The department responded to one request for mutual aid during June to Reading. It received mutual aid one time in June from Lynnfield. A crew from Engine 1 under the direction of Acting Lieutenant Gary Hill assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm house fire at 36 Lindsay Lane during the afternoon of June 30.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a reported fire at the Colonial Point Apartments at 95 Audubon Road during the early morning of June 19. On arrival, firefighters found a heavy smoke condition in the third floor elevator lobby and laundry room. They quickly determined the source of the smoke to be coming from a burning laptop that had malfunctioned and exploded while being carried by a building occupant riding inside the elevator. The occupant exited the elevator on the third floor and brought the laptop into the laundry room. The fire was confined to the laptop with some minor heat damaged to some carpeting. Firefighters made sure that the fire was extinguished and vented the area of the thick acrid smoke created by the fire. There were no injuries to building occupants or any responding firefighters during this incident. The cause of the fire was traced to a replacement lithium battery that had just been installed in the laptop shortly before the fire. The battery was apparently not compatible with the model of laptop that it was installed in and overheated, causing the fire.

Department members assisted several boaters in distress on Lake Quannapowitt during the somewhat windy afternoon of June 15. Firefighters assisted occupants of an overturned catamaran right their vessel and bring it back to shore. They later returned and assisted a father and his two children in a canoe by towing the vessel back to the south end of the lake where it had been rented. The heavy wind conditions had blown the canoe into the rocks at Beebe’s Cove, preventing them from maneuvering the small craft.

All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections and conducted the annual testing of the department’s fire hose during the month of June. The ladder truck as well as all of the department’s ground ladders were steam cleaned during June. Chief Sullivan participated in a disaster drill held by the Bear Hill Nursing Home on June 7. Wakefield firefighters participated in a joint active shooter drill with the Wakefield Police Department and Action Ambulance at the Hurd School during the evenings of June 10 and 17. All duty groups conducted a walk-thru of the commercial property at 360 Audubon Road during the month of June.

Firefighters washed their truck along with a second grade class at the Greenwood School on June 3 and several groups of kindergarteners from the Dolbeare Elementary Schools on June 7. A group of citizens from Communitas visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters on June 17. Firefighters visited with preschoolers from the KinderCare Children’s Center on June 25.

Wakefield Fire Department Administrative Assistant Rosemary Dellanno retired from the department on June 28, 2019 after serving for more than 33 years with the department. Rosemary has in many ways become the face of the department. She is often the first person that the public encounters as she schedules and coordinates all of the administrative business services provided by the department. The entire department wishes Rosemary a long, healthy and happy retirement.

May 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 333 emergency incidents during the month of May including 32 box alarms and 301 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during May, twice to Melrose, twice to Saugus and once each to Lynnfield and Stoneham. It received mutual aid one time in May from Stoneham. A crew from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Joseph Albert assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 11 Sherwood Road during the early evening of May 8. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Christopher Crogan assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 15 Riverside Court during the afternoon of May 27.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a reported house fire at 72 Outlook Road during the afternoon of May 8. On arrival, firefighters found that a resident had accidentally started a fire beneath the exterior siding of the single family home while using a torch to burn off vegetation around the foundation. Firefighters quickly removed the siding in the affected areas and extinguished the remaining fire that the resident was not able to access. The fire was contained to the exterior wall areas that had been ignited and did not extend into the home. The interior of the home suffered significant smoke damage, displacing the occupants for several days until the residence could be cleaned. There were no injuries to either of the two occupants or any responding firefighters during this incident. A Stoneham engine covered Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the fire.

Fire crews narrowly averted two serious fires caused by unattended cooking during the month of May. The first incident occurred on May 5 at 12 Princess Street during the early evening of May 5. Firefighters under Captain Paul Pronco responded to a fire alarm activation at this location and found that burning food had caused a heavy smoke condition inside the apartment. Two occupants were found sleeping as firefighters gained entry into the unit and were quickly woken and taken outside. The apartment was vented of smoke before the occupants were allowed to return to their unit. There was no damage to the apartment and the two rescued occupants were not injured. The second fire occurred during the afternoon of May 18 as unattended food once again created a heavy smoke condition inside the condominium building at 26 Chestnut Street. Firefighters led by Captain Thomas Purcell encountered zero visibility smoke conditions inside an apartment at that location. Once again the occupant had fallen asleep and left cooking food on the stove. The occupant woke up and evacuated the unit prior to the arrival of responding firefighters. The building was completely vented of smoke before occupants were allowed to re-enter. There were no injuries as a result of this fire.

Eight department members took part in an excellent training session during the week of May 20 sponsored by the Woburn Fire Department on tactics and strategies associated with fighting fires in two and a half story wood framed dwellings. The class was conducted by retired Brockton Fire Chief Kenneth F. Galligan, a well-respected leader in the fire service. The class was attended by more than 200 area firefighters and was offered at no cost to the department. All duty shifts conducted training on the department’s two fire boats and on proper water rescue procedures during the month of May. All duty shifts continued their in-service business safety inspections and continuing education classes for Emergency Medical Technician during the month of May.

A group of preschool children form the Tall Spire Nursery School visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the mornings of May 6 and 7. Chief Sullivan hosted two Wakefield High School juniors for the day on May 22 as part of the school’s Career Shadow Day. The boys enjoyed the day and gained valuable insight into what a potential career in the fire service might entail. The department visited several preschool groups at the Doyle Early Learning Center on May 29 and the kindergarteners at the Dolbeare School on May 31 where they assisted firefighters with washing their fire trucks.

April 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 291 emergency incidents during the month of April including 30 box alarms and 261 still alarms.

The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during April, once each to Melrose, Reading and Saugus. It received mutual aid three times in April, twice from Lynnfield and once from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Michael Long assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 74 Elm Street during the early evening of April 2. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Lieutenant Daniel Hancock assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 236 High Street during the early morning of April 5.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to the McDonald’s restaurant at 572 Main Street during the early morning of April 3 for a reported vehicle into a building. On arrival, firefighters found that a car had crashed into a storage building behind the main restaurant building, driving fully into the structure. The lone occupant of the vehicle was not seriously injured but was transported to an area hospital as a precaution. The Building Inspector was notified and determined that there was no structural damage to the building. The vehicle was removed from the building and towed from the scene. The main restaurant was not affected by the collision and was able to remain open.

Lieutenant Sean Curran along with a crew from Engine 2 responded to a reported vehicle off of the road at 61 Tamworth Hill Ave on the morning of April 13. On arrival, they found that a vehicle had rolled through a fence at that location and then proceeded down a steep embankment before getting hung up on a wall in the backyard at 22 Humphrey Street. The car was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries. Firefighters stood by until the vehicle could be lifted off of the wall and restored to its original location on Tamworth Hill Road.

Acting Captain Michael Long and a crew from Engine 1 under Lieutenant Daniel Hancock responded to a Fairmount Avenue residence during the afternoon of April 18 in response to a reported chemical spill at that location. Firefighters met with an occupant, who reported that he had discovered and cleaned up a spill involving an old mercury thermometer. Captain Long followed department protocol and activated the District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team for a response to the home to confirm the presence of mercury and provide advice as to the proper clean-up procedures for any spilled mercury. The Hazardous Materials Team dispatched five members with a truck to the scene. Two members donned chemical suits and entered the residence. They quickly confirmed that mercury had in fact been spilled and took measures to completely collect up any spilled material and properly contain it. Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental protection also responded, conducted further testing and quickly determined that there was no residual mercury remaining inside the residence. All contaminated materials were safely contained and properly disposed of. The occupants could then renter the home with no precautions required. These services were provided by the state at no cost to the homeowners.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Thomas Purcell responded to a serious motor vehicle accident at 103 Water Street during the evening of April 30. Upon their arrival, firefighters found a car lying on its side with a single trapped occupant inside the vehicle. The vehicle was smoking and there were reports of a second vehicle occupant that was nowhere in sight. Captain Purcell requested a full response from the on-duty shift. The trapped occupant was quickly removed and transported to an area hospital. An extensive search of the area did not turn up any more vehicle occupants and it was eventually determined that the female operator was the lone occupant. All crews worked quickly and efficiently to rescue the driver and bring the matter to a successful conclusion.

All duty shifts continued conducting their in-service business safety inspections during the month of April. Firefighters also participated in continuing education classes in April as part of their on-going requirements to maintain their certificates as Emergency Medical Technicians. Cub Scouts from Packs 722 and 712 visited Wakefield Fire headquarters during the evenings of April 22 and 23 respectively.

March 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 307 emergency incidents during the month of March including 34 box alarms and 273 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during March, three times to Melrose and once each to North Reading, Stoneham and Waltham. It received mutual aid three times in March, all three times from Lynnfield. A crew from Engine 1 under the direction of Lieutenant John Mercurio assisted the North Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm structure fire at 38 Park Street during the morning of March 7. Acting Lieutenant John Hurley and a crew from Engine 2 covered Melrose Fire Headquarters during a fire in that city during the afternoon of March 18. Lieutenant Phil Preston led a crew from Engine 2 who assisted the Melrose Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 12 Cranmore Lane during the afternoon of March 19. Firefighters from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Michael Long covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during a structure fire in that community at 9 Oak Street during the evening of March 27.

Lieutenant Michael Long responded along with other members of the District 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team to 35 Gatehouse Drive in Waltham during the afternoon of March 19. The team responded to and controlled a leak involving an unknown hazardous material. The team worked quickly to contain the spilled product which was then properly disposed of by a hazardous materials clean-up contractor. One civilian was treated at the scene for exposure to the chemical and transported to an area hospital. All training and emergency incident responses related to this response team are paid for by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

All duty groups started their annual in-service pre-fire planning and safety inspection of local business during the month of March. These inspections are intended to familiarize department members with the businesses that they are inspecting, identify hazards associated with these businesses and verify emergency contact information for business owners in the event an emergency takes place after normal operating hours. All department members received training from the Wakefield Police Department in the proper use of ballistic vests and helmets purchased for them via an Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) obtained by the Town thanks to the efforts of Wakefield Emergency Management Director Thomas Walsh.

Wakefield Firefighters Patrick Farrell and Sean Gill successfully graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Class 271 during a brief ceremony held on the morning of March 8 at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy facility in Stow. Firefighters Farrell and Gill completed a rigorous ten-week program giving them the necessary basic skills they will need as municipal firefighters. The department welcomes Firefighters Farrell and Gill and wishes them a long and productive career in the fire service.

A troop of Girl Scouts from the Woodville School visited Wakefield Fire Headquarters during the afternoon of March 6. Cub Scouts from Packs 722 and 712 visited Wakefield Fire headquarters during the evenings of March 27 and 28 respectively.

The Wakefield Fire Department applied for a federal SAFER staffing grant from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security for $316,587 over a three year period. The purpose of this grant is to subsidize the salary and benefits of a municipal firefighter over a period of three years. Requested funding would pay for 75% of the cost of training and employing firefighter for the first two years of employment and 35% of the cost for the third year. The town assumes the full cost for the firefighter after the third year. This grant will be used, if awarded, during the next three fiscal years to defray the cost of hiring a firefighter to replace the vacancy to be created at the firefighter entry level by the appointment of a Deputy Fire Chief, which was negotiated by the town and local firefighters collective bargaining unit in the past several months and is currently undergoing an approval process. The department is hoping to be awarded this SAFER grant at some point during the summer of 2019.

February 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 329 emergency incidents during the month of February including 44 box alarms and 285 still alarms.

The department responded to eight requests for mutual aid during February, twice each to Lynnfield, Melrose and Saugus, once each to Reading and Stoneham. It received mutual aid five times in February, twice each from Lynnfield and Reading and once from Melrose. A crew from Engine 1 under the direction of Lieutenant Daniel Hancock assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm structure fire at 527 Salem Street during the early afternoon of February 7. Firefighters under the command of Lieutenant Cliff Silva responded to a 2-alarm fire at 397 South Street in Reading during the evening of February 12. Lieutenant Phil Preston and a crew from Engine 1 covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during a fire in that community during the early evening of February 17. Lieutenant Michael Long led a crew from Engine 2 who assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure fire at 2400 Founders Way during the morning of February 21. Lieutenant Michael Long led another crew of firefighters from Engine 2 assisting the Saugus Fire department at the scene of a structure fire at 41 Bennett Avenue during the evening of February 23. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Lieutenant Philip Preston assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at the scene of a fire at the Boston Sports Club during the evening of February 25.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported truck fire at 96 Audubon Road shortly after noon on February 15. Firefighters arrived to find a refrigerated box truck in the parking lot fully involved with fire spreading to adjoining box trucks of identical design. Firefighters quickly deployed several hose lines quickly knocking down the wind driven fire. Two box trucks were completely destroyed with a third suffering considerable heat and smoke damage. The cause of the fire was investigated and determined to be an electrical malfunction in the charging system that the fleet of vehicles plugged into to keep their refrigeration equipment running. An electrical short circuit ignited the first truck and the wind and close proximity of the adjoining vehicles allowed the fire to spread to the other vehicles. The fire caused an estimated dollar loss in excess of $200,000. There were no injuries as a result of the fire and no damage to the large manufacturing plant at this location.

All four duty groups conducted quarterly fire inspections of all nursing homes, schools, hotels and lodging houses during the month of February. All department members were recertified in CPR during February. Mr. John Blaikie of Advanced Safety Systems Integrators gave a presentation to all department personnel on the new energy storage system installed at the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department substation located on Farm Street near the town line with Saugus. This new state-of-the-art technology allows power to be collected and stored during off-peak periods where it can be utilized later during periods of high demand for electricity. This system utilizes large banks of batteries designed for this purpose which require special fire extinguishing systems to protect them.

A troop of Girl Scouts visited the Greenwood Fire Station during the afternoon of February 14.

January 2019

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 342 emergency incidents during the month of January including 48 box alarms and 294 still alarms.

The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during January, twice to Saugus, twice to Melrose and once each Stoneham and Reading. It received mutual aid eight times in January, five times from Lynnfield, twice from Stoneham and once from Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under the direction of Lieutenant Michael Long assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a structure at 21 Cleveland Avenue during the early afternoon of January 14. Firefighters under the command of Lieutenant Daniel Hancock responded to a 3-alarm fire at 54 Temple Street in Reading during the afternoon of January 22. Lieutenant John Mercurio and a crew from Engine 1 covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during a fire in that community during the early evening of January 23.

The cold winter weather during the last half of January resulted in several small structure fires which could have potentially been more serious.

Firefighters led by Captain Randy Hudson responded to a report of an alarm sounding at 340 Main Street during the evening of January 22. Firefighters arrived to discover that building occupants thawing out frozen pipes with a torch had inadvertently ignited combustibles within a concealed wall space. Firefighters vented the structure of smoke and checked for fire extension into the structure, finding none. This incident clearly demonstrates the inherent hazards associated with the use of open flame devices to thaw out frozen pipes. Fortunately the building had very minor damage as a result of this fire and the construction work in preparation for the opening of a new restaurant is proceeding uninhibited.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a reported shed fire at 9 Nichols Street during the late afternoon of January 29. Firefighters found smoke coming from a detached shed and quickly extinguished the fire. The shed was utilized as a workshop and the homeowner was utilizing a propane space heater to keep the small structure warm. He left the shed for a few minutes and the heater apparently malfunctioned causing the fire. There were no injuries and the main residence was not damaged as a result of the fire.

Captain Randy Hudson led another group of firefighters responding to a reported structure fire at 2 Norway Street during the morning of January 30. Firefighters arrived to find smoke entering the house from the fireplace as well as heavy smoke emitting from the chimney. Firefighters discovered that a flue pipe coming from a wood-burning stove was partially blocked, causing smoke to back up into the structure. The fire in the wood stove was extinguished and the flue pipe was dismantled and cleared of the blockage. Firefighters checked the chimney flue and adjoining walls of the residence finding no extension of fire into these areas. There were no injuries as a result of this fire and the residents were able to remain in their home.

Firefighters from Engine 1 and Ladder1 under the direction of Captain Paul Pronco assisted an injured worker at a company on Audubon Road who had caught his arm in a conveyor belt during the morning of January 11. The worker had been freed from the machinery just prior to the arrival of firefighters and was treated by both firefighters and Action Ambulance paramedics for his serious injuries before being transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for follow-up care.

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