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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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