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March 2021

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 303 emergency incidents during the month of March including 44 box alarms and 259 still alarms. The department responded to five requests for mutual aid during March, once each to Lynnfield, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham and Woburn. The department received mutual aid seven times during the month of March, three times from Stoneham and twice each from Lynnfield and Reading.

A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Michael Long assisted the Stoneham Fire department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 34 Hersam Street during the morning of March 6. A crew under Lieutenant Daniel Hancock covered a vacant Lynnfield fire station while crews were tied up in that community during the evening of March 16. A crew from Engine 1 led by Lieutenant Erik Cole assisted the Reading Fire Department at the scene of a 3-alarm fire at 123 Dragon Court during the afternoon of March 18. Firefighters from Engine 1 under the command of Acting Lieutenant John Hurley covered a vacant Woburn fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that community the early morning of March 23.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Randy Hudson responded to a reported electrical fire and explosion inside a utility building located at 599 North Avenue on the grounds of the Lakeside Office Park during the early morning of March 7. The fire was discovered by the Park Manager as an electrical contracting company was investigating a power problem within the park. A large explosion occurred inside the small building setting fire to the contents. The Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department was already on scene and shut down the electrical power to the building. Firefighters entered the building once the power was shut down and quickly extinguished the fire. The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical malfunction in the high-voltage equipped housed inside the small utility building. The equipment inside the structure was completely destroyed, knocking out power to a majority of the office park. Lakeside Office Park management had to bring in large electrical generators to restore power to the park until repairs could be made. There were no injuries to either citizens or firefighters during this fire.

Firefighters led by Captain Paul Pronco responded to a reported building fire at 1 Nablus Road during the afternoon of March 15. They arrived in approximately one minute to find considerable amount of smoke venting from open doors. Firefighters quickly determined the source of the fire to be welding work being conducted in a manufacturing area. Apparently, a spark had been drawn up into the facility’s duct collection system starting a fire in some metal dust lining the system. Firefighters eventually gained access to the ductwork and collections bin, quickly extinguishing the fire. There was no fire extension beyond the dust collection system and no injuries as a result of the fire. The metal fabrication company was able to remain open and operational.

All duty shifts conducted in service walk-throughs of the ongoing construction projects at 69 Foundry Street and 168 Albion Street during March. All groups utilized the vacant building at 500 Main Street for training including commercial roof cutting, advancing charged hose lines, breaching commercial garage doors and search and rescue drills. All Groups toured the water treatment facility on Broadway including the underground sand filter beds in March while the facility was down for routine maintenance. All department members reviewed the new exit numbering system for the Route 95 exits that serve Wakefield as they were recently reconfigured to coincide with the highway mile markers.

All Groups resumed their annual in-service fire safety inspection of businesses on March 1. All Groups resumed their quarterly fire inspections of nursing home, schools, hotels and lodging houses in March. All department personnel completed their annual Conflict of Interest training required of all public employees by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during March. Fire Chief Michael Sullivan and Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Purcell participated in a documentary video for the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence. This video involved the White Ribbon Campaign, which focuses on community awareness and prevention measures regarding domestic violence against women.

February 2021

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 300 emergency incidents during the month of February including 29 box alarms and 271 still alarms. The department responded to six requests for mutual aid during February, twice to Melrose, and once each to Malden, Stoneham, Saugus and Woburn. The department received mutual aid eight times during the month of February, twice from Reading and once each from Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Saugus, Stoneham and Woburn.

A crew from Engine 2 under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Albert assisted the Saugus Fire department at the scene of a 2-alarm fire at 5 Beckett Street during the early morning of February 10. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Michael Long assisted the Stoneham Fire Department at a 2-alarm fire at 34 Country Club Road during the morning of February 10. A crew under Acting Lieutenant John Hurley covered a vacant Woburn Fire station during a multiple alarm fire in that community during the evening of February 16. A crew from Engine 2 led by Lieutenant Christopher Crogan covered a vacant Malden fire station during a 3-alarm at 5 Overlook Ridge Drive during the early morning of February 28.

Firefighters under the command of Captain John Walsh responded to a reported house fire at 26 Crystal Street at approximately 3:40 P.M. on February 23. Upon their arrival, firefighters found a fire in the rear of the basement extending into the first floor. Multiple hose lines were stretched into the home knocking down the fire in about 20 minutes. A second alarm was stuck for extra manpower at 3:50 P.M. bringing engines from Stoneham, Melrose and Reading to the scene along with a North Reading Ladder truck. An engine from Saugus and Woburn as well as a Malden ladder truck covered the town during the fire. The fire was extinguished within 60 minutes after the first alarm. The rear of the basement and first floor sustained heavy fire damage with significant smoke and heat damage extending throughout the home. The sole occupant of the home at the time of the fire was able to exit the residence without injury. The couple living in the home will be displaced for an extended time until the extensive repairs can be made. A trooper from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to assist the local Fire investigation team. The cause of the fire remains undermined but accidental, most likely an electrical failure of a household appliance in the basement. No firefighters were injured during this fire.

The Wakefield Fire Department experienced a significant decrease in Covid-19 responses in February as the second surge of Covid-19 infections that started in November appears to be winding down. Citizens are reminded of the importance of calling 911 for injuries and illnesses that are not Covid-19 related.

All duty shifts conducted in service walk-throughs of the ongoing construction project at 27 Water Street during February. All groups practiced search and rescue drills and roof opening procedures at residences that were vacant and awaiting demolition at 102 New Salem Street and10 Otis Street. Several groups also conducted training evolutions inside the former Hurd School. Several groups continued to practice ice rescue procedures on Lake Quannapowitt. All of the department’s self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) was flow-tested and its compressed air tanks were hydrostatically tested during February. The air compressor that supplies breathing air to the department’s SCBA was also tested and passed inspection.

January 2020

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 306 emergency incidents during the month of January including 35 box alarms and 271 still alarms. The department responded to three requests for mutual aid during January, once each to Melrose, Saugus and Woburn. The department received mutual aid seven times during the month of January, once each from Lynnfield, Melrose, North Reading, Saugus, Stoneham and Woburn.

A crew from Engine 2 under Lieutenant Christopher Crogan covered Saugus Fire Headquarters while their firefighters were tied up dealing with an extensive brush fire during the afternoon of January 24. A crew from Engine 5 led by Lieutenant Daniel Hancock covered a vacant Woburn Fire station during a 2-alarm fire in that community during the evening of January 24.

Firefighters under the command of Captain Brian Purcell responded to a reported house fire at 360 Water Street during the early morning of January 31. Upon their arrival, firefighters found a fire in the front bedroom of the single-family residence set up a steep hill set off of the street. Two hose lines were stretched into the home quickly knocking down the fire. A second alarm was stuck for extra manpower due to the zero visibility conditions present within the home and the very cold ambient temperature (5 degrees Fahrenheit). The second alarm brought engines from Stoneham, Melrose and Reading to the scene along with a North Reading Ladder truck. The residence was vented of smoke and heat and no further fire extension was found beyond the front bedroom and hallway. The cause of the fire was determined to be cause by the transfer of heat through a chimney cleanout found in the rear of the bedroom closet where the fire started. The owners had used the wood stove and fireplace during the previous evening, heating the access door to the clean-out to the point where it ignited combustibles stored against it. The two occupants of the home and their dog escaped the residence without injury and there were no injuries to responding firefighters. The occupants of the home will be displaced for an extended period until repairs can be made. A Saugus and Woburn engine and a Lynnfield ladder truck covered Wakefield Fire Headquarters during this incident.

The Wakefield Fire Department continues to respond a significant number of emergency medical responses involving citizens sick with or suspected of having the Covid-19 virus. The department responded, along with Cataldo Ambulance, to 193 incidents in January where the presence of Covid-19 was either confirmed or suspected. Department personnel equipped with medical masks, gowns, shields and gloves respond to all requests for medical aid providing the highest level of protection for both the firefighters and the citizens of Wakefield. Citizens are reminded of the importance of calling 911 for injuries and illnesses that are not Covid-19 related. Hospitals and emergency rooms have taken extensive precautions to minimize the risk to patients not infected by Covid-19.

Wakefield Fire Lieutenant Louis Sardella officially retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on January 7, 2021. Lou was appointed to the Wakefield Fire Department on October 4, 1993 and was appointed a Permanent Fire Lieutenant on October 3, 2013. Lou was the senior member of group 1 at the time of his retirement, assigned as the Lieutenant for Ladder 1. He is a well-respected and competent fire officer and his extensive experience with the fire service will be missed. We wish Lieutenant Sardella a long, happy and healthy retirement along with his wife Lynne in their new home in Maine.

All department members participated in both on-line training and instructor led programs related to their continuing education requirements for Emergency Medical Technician. All duty shifts conducted in service walk-throughs of the ongoing construction project at 178 Albion Street during January. All groups practiced procedures involving cold water and ice rescues. All groups reviewed operating procedures involving carbon monoxide, electrical and natural gas emergencies. The department participated in the funeral services for retired Wakefield Fire Captain Peter E. Hubbard, a respected officer with the department for many years, on January 30.

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