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March 2020

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 267 emergency incidents during the month of February including 33 box alarms and 234 still alarms. The department responded to one request for mutual aid during March to Lynn. It received mutual aid three times in March, twice from Reading and once from Stoneham. Lieutenant Joseph Albert responded with a crew from Engine 2 to cover a vacant Lynn Fire Headquarters during a multiple alarm fire in that city during the evening of March 11.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to reports of smoke coming from the building at the Lakeside Office Park, 607 North Avenue, during the afternoon of March 5. Upon their arrival, they encountered heavy black smoke coming from the chimney and banking down into the parking lot. A quick investigation soon revealed that creosote and other combustible debris inside the chimney had ignited. The fire was quickly contained to the chimney and the furnace was shut down for cleaning. There was no other fire damage to the property and no injuries as a result of this fire. Occupants were allowed to return to the building as soon as the smoke was cleared. The cause of the fire was determined to be a failure to clean out the chimney after the furnace to the building had been replaced.

Captain Thomas Purcell led a group of firefighters responding to a reported building fire at 16 Juniper Avenue during the evening of March 23. The homeowner noticed a strong smell of burning wood after operating the fireplace all day as he was preparing to retire for the night. Shortly after that the fire alarms in the residence activated. Firefighters arrived within several minutes and found that the homeowner had already made numerous opening in the walls located behind the chimney in an attempt to control a smoldering fire that had ignited inside the wall. They were quickly able to wet down the affected areas preventing any further fire extension within the residence. The homeowner suffered a serious cut to his hand during his extinguishment efforts during the fire. The family residing at the residence was displaced for several days while the damage was repaired. The cause of the fire was determined to be a defective lining inside the chimney flue which allowed adjoining wall sections to heat up and ignite.

Firefighters under Captain Brian Purcell responded to a fire at 478 Main Street during the morning of March 24. The crew from Engine 2 spotted heavy smoke and fire coming from the top of the chimney at the site of the former business known as Stylecraft while driving up from the Greenwood fire station. They immediately stopped and began extinguishing the fire while additional firefighters responded from Headquarters. Firefighters forced entry into the building and began checking the wall spaces adjacent to the chimney for fire extension. Finding no extension, they were able to access the cleanout for the chimney and empty it of burning debris. The fire was contained to the chimney area and the building was vented of smoke. There were no occupants in the vacant building at the time of the fire and no injuries reported. The cause of the fire was determined to be lack of maintenance to the chimney and heating system.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported house fire at 19 Lakeview Avenue during the evening of March 29 after a violent thunder and lightning storm moved through the area. Firefighters quickly determined from a neighbor that lightning had in fact struck the home igniting its siding and some underlying insulation. Neighbors had the fire under control upon the arrival of the department. Firefighters checked the home and did not find any signs of fire extension. The Wakefield Municipal gas and light Department responded as well to check the home’s electrical service. No issues were found and the occupants were able to stay in the home.

Wakefield Firefighters Michael Scheri and Michael Marroquin successfully graduated with the other members of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Class 281 on March 20, 2020. The recruits completed 11 weeks of intensive training that began on January 13. Firefighters Scheri and Marroquin will receive several additional weeks of training with the department before being assigned to their new respective groups in mid-April. The department wishes them long and productive careers in the fire service.

All schedule emergency medical training as well as an awareness class on the risks of occupational cancer in the fire service were cancelled or rescheduled due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

The Coronavirus continues to work its way through the community and the country. The department responded to more than 200 emergency medical calls during the month of March, some of them involving residents sick with COVID-19 and some sick with the flu and other illnesses. The department continues to serve the public and respond to calls involving COVID-19, equipped with N95 masks, gloves, medical aprons and goggles. We look a bit different and may ask some additional questions but we stand ready to assist the public in any way we can no matter what the circumstances may be.

February 2020

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 285 emergency incidents during the month of February including 57 box alarms and 228 still alarms. The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during February, twice to Lynnfield and once each to Reading, Stoneham and Woburn. It did not receive any mutual aid in February. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Cliff Silva assisted the Lynnfield Fire department and members of the Northeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team extricate an injured patient from the wooded area behind the Lynnfield Commons complex at 375 Broadway during the afternoon of February 8. Lieutenant Daniel Hancock responded with a crew from Engine 1 to cover a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that city during the morning of February 18. Another crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Christopher Crogan assisted the Lynnfield Fire Department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire inside a car dealership at 385 Broadway during the early morning of February 20. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Lieutenant Cliff Silva responded to a 4-alarm fire at 1 High Street in Reading during the early morning of February 24. The fire occurred in a 12-unit apartment building, trapping two occupants in the unit where the fire started. Lieutenant Silva’s crew assisted Reading Firefighters removed these victims from the building and assisted in performing CPR on both of them. Sadly, one of the fire victims died from their injuries and the other remains in critical condition. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Sean Curran covered Stoneham Fire Headquarters during a fire in that community during the evening of February 25.

Firefighters led by Captain Paul Pronco responded to 316 Main Street during the afternoon of February 9 after occupants reported a strong burning odor in the building. Investigation sound revealed that a large coffee pot in the basement had accidentally been turned on causing the odor. Nothing was damaged except the coffee pot and the occupants were soon allowed to re-enter the building.

Firefighters under the direction of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a fire alarm activation at the Dockside restaurant at 1099 Main Street during the evening of February 27. Upon their arrival, they encountered a smoke condition in the bar area located at the rear of the restaurant. A quick investigation soon revealed that a cooler located under the bar had malfunctioned, creating the smoke condition. The cooler was disconnected and removed from the building and smoke was vented from the bar area. The fire was contained to the cooler and some paneling immediately adjacent to it. No one was injured and the restaurant was able to remain open.

Wakefield Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a residence at 14 Jackson Lane after residents reported a smoke condition in the building during the morning of February 29. The source of the smoke was quickly determined to be from a trash barrel that had caught on fire in a basement bedroom. The homeowner had removed the barrel outdoors just before the arrival of the department. There was no fire extension beyond the trash barrel and the smoke was vented from the residence. The cause of the fire was determined to be the careless disposal of smoking materials inside the waste basket. There were no injuries as a result of the fire and the residents were able to remain in the home.

All groups received refresher training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as well the proper use of the department’s semi-automatic defibrillators during the month of February. Several groups conducted search and rescue drills at the former Hurd School during February as well.

January 2020

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 334 emergency incidents during the month of January including 38 box alarms and 296 still alarms. The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during January, twice each to Lynnfield and Saugus and once to Melrose. It received mutual aid four times in January, twice from Stoneham and once each from Melrose and Reading. A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Michael Long responded to Melrose during the early evening of January 17 to assist that City while it was tied up with multiple emergency calls. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant John Mercurio covered the Lynnfield south station during the early morning of January 19 while that department was tied up with multiple calls. Lieutenant Joseph Albert led a crew from Engine 2 that covered Saugus Fire headquarters during a 2-alarm fire in the community at 42 Mt. Vernon Street during the early evening of January 29. A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Sean Curran assisted the Saugus Fire Department at the scene of a working structure fire at 24 Main Street during the evening of January 31.

The department welcomed two new recruit firefighters in January. Firefighter Michael Scheri and Michael Marroquin were sworn in on January 2 during a brief ceremony held at the Public Safety Building. Michael Scheri is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving as an aviation electronics specialist from 2009 to 2012. Michael is a graduate of Wakefield Memorial High School and holds an Associate’s degree in Business from North Shore Community College. Michael Marroquin is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps serving from 200 to 2004 as a communications specialist operating radio and satellite equipment. Michael is originally from the City of Los Angeles and moved to Wakefield after completing his duties with the Marine Corps. He has served as a public safety dispatcher for the Town of Arlington for the past twelve years and speaks fluent Spanish. Recruits Scheri and Marroquin entered the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy as part of Recruit Class 281, a ten-week program, on January 9, 2020 with an anticipated graduation date of March 20, 2020. The department welcomes both recruits and wished them a long and productive career with the fire service.

The department implemented a new fire incident reporting system on January 30. The system, developed by Emergency Reporting, will allow the department create their incident reports in a format that complies with the requirements of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) as well as the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The department will now be able to report all of their emergency incidents electronically to both the state and federal governments. All groups trained on the use of cold water survival suits and ice rescue procedures during the month of January.

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