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DECEMBER 2003 - A very busy month for the Wakefield Fire Department, dealing with a 27 inch snowstorm, a working fire at a construction garage on New Salem Street on December 5, three two-alarm fires that occurred on December 12 at 2 Dell Avenue, December 17 at 28 Old Nahant Road, and December 29 at 69 Green Street. Tragically, the December 17 fire resulted in the death of 16-year old Peter A. Sokol, and apparently started when the victim entered the home with his clothing on fire. Finally, Firefighter Thomas S. Labriola retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on December 22nd, 2003. Firefighter Labriola was appointed a Provisional Firefighter on June 9, 1975, and was appointed a Permanent Firefighter on November 28, 1979. Firefighter Labriola leaves us as part of the Early Retirement Incentive Program offered by the town. We thank him for his 28 years of dedicated service to the Town of Wakefield, and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

NOVEMBER 2003 - On Sunday morning, November 2, firefighters fought a two-alarm fire at a two story brick multiple dwelling located at 41 Richardson Avenue, Box 3533. An excellent stop by members of Group # 1 kept the fire confined to one apartment on the second floor.

OCTOBER 2003 - October is Fire Prevention month, and Wakefield Firefighters were very busy in conducting inspections and evacuation drills in the local schools, as well as our annual SAFE (Student Awareness of Fire Safety) educational program. This program involves the METROFIRE Fire Safety Trailer being utilized at each school to provide the children with hands on training in fire safety to supplement their classroom instruction. The department teamed up with Reading Firefighters on October 1st to attend the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Flashover Simulator training program, and during the month started our bi-annual EMT and First Responder refresher training program.

SEPTEMBER 2003 - Firefighters commenced training on the newly acquired Scott Air Pac Fifty self-contained breathing apparatus, that were purchased courtesy of a $ 123,750.00 FIRE Act Grant received by the town. Fire Prevention Officer Captain Michael Sullivan kicked off a new program based on a grant that he sought and received from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and Department of Public Health. The program basically provides at no cost a supply of smoke detectors equipped with a ten-year lithium battery, especially designed for residents that are elderly and other special needs population. Captain Sullivan will be working closely with Health and Senior Services officials to identify residents who would benefit from this program.

AUGUST 2003 - Wakefield Firefighters assisted Lynnfield Firefighters in battling a serious fire at the former Lynnfield Middle School on Main Street late in the afternoon on August 20. Engine 2 hooked up to a hydrant and supplied the North Reading Ladder 1 - ladder pipe. Firefighters also utilized the Metalcrafters building on Lowell Street for training just prior to its demolition. This gave us a great opportunity to use our forcible entry and power tools in controlled conditions.

JULY 2003 - The Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has again come to the assistance of the Wakefield Fire Department by donating $ 10,000 to the department. This donation will be used to replace / upgrade the departments Semi-Automatic Cardiac Defibrillators.

JUNE 2003 - On June 16th, Wakefield Firefighters were called to assist the Wakefield Police in dealing with a Haz Mat Incident in a private residence on Cedar Street. With the support and assistance of the State Police Hazardous Devices Unit, Metro Haz Mat Response Team, ATF, and FBI, a large quantity of explosive chemicals, weapons, and ammunition were removed from this home without incident.

MAY 2003 - Wakefield Firefighters toured and pre-planned the new Water Treatment facility on Broadway. This facility does present some Hazardous Materials challenges for our department.

APRIL 2003 - The Wakefield Fire Department received two very generous donations or gifts during April. $ 5,000.00 from Edgewater Office Park will be used towards further development of the departmentís Dive Rescue Team, and a $ 5,000.00 donation from Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. will be used to fund the 2003-2004 Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) Program in Wakefield, a program formally funded by the State but cut due to budget constraints.

On April 17th, Wakefield and Reading Firefighters participated in the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy 'Flashover Simulator' Training Program. (See photo gallery)

MARCH 2003 - Wakefield Firefighters handled a 'working' structural fire at 197 Pleasant Street on March 4th, and a fast moving wind swept second alarm house fire at 17 Millbrook Lane on March 10th. (See photo gallery)

FEBRUARY 2003 - The harsh winter weather of 2003 kept the department very busy during the month of February, including dealing with a Presidentís Day snowstorm on February 17th that dumped over a foot of snow on Wakefield. A second alarm house fire at 747 Main Street on February 19th, was quickly controlled by firefighters, mainly due to an excellent initial attack by the crew of Greenwoodís Engine 2.

JANUARY 2003 - Captain David J. Lowry retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on January16th, 2003, after serving the department for over thirty years. To replace Captain Lowry, Fire Lieutenant Richard P. Smith was promoted to Fire Captain and assigned to Group 3, and Firefighter Kevin P. Carney was promoted to Fire Lieutenant and assigned to Group # 1. (As off January 2003, there are four (4) vacant firefighter positions in the department.)

DECEMBER 2002 - Wakefield Firefighters fought a two-alarm house fire at 48 Salem Street on the frigid morning of December 3rd. The department was also awarded a Massachusetts Fire Equipment Grant in the amount of $ 31,000.00, which will be used to upgrade the departmentís portable radios, rescue tools, and Haz Mat equipment.

NOVEMBER 2002 - The Wakefield Fire Department is notified that we will receive a FEMA FIRE Act Grant in the amount of $ 123,750.00. This grant will be used to replace and upgrade all of the departments Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) with new, state-of-the-art equipment.

OCTOBER 2002 - Captain john F. Lynch retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on October 17th, 2002, after completing 33 years of dedicated service to the Town of Wakefield. To replace Captain Lynch, Lieutenant David E. Myette was promoted to Fire Captain and assigned to Group 1, and Firefighter Joseph G. Riley was promoted to Fire Lieutenant and assigned to Group # 3.

SEPTEMBER 2002 - The department received a new 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe Utility Vehicle, which was assigned to the Chief of Department and designated as Car 1. The former Car 1, a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe was re-assigned to the Fire Prevention Officer as Car 2, and the 1994 Chevrolet Blazer traded in to the dealer.

AUGUST 2002 - Wakefield Firefighters fought a two alarm fire at the Robie Industrial Park, 134 Water Street during the early morning hours of August 22nd.

JULY 2002 - The department purchased two (2) new Scott multi-gas detectors for use at Hazardous Materials Incidents, Confined Space Rescue situations, and for investigating Carbon Monoxide incidents.

Captain John F. Lynch will retire from the Wakefield Fire Department, his retirement becoming effective on Thursday, October 17th, 2002. Captain Lynch served with the Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department; was appointed a Call Firefighter on October 1, 1969; was appointed a Permanent Firefighter on November 1, 1970; was promoted to Lieutenant on April 15, 1976; and was promoted to Captain on March 18, 1999. Captain Lynch leaves the department with our thanks and best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement. Lieutenant David E. Myette is promoted to Fire Captain, and assigned to Group # 1. This promotion shall take effect on Thursday, October 17th, 2002. Firefighter Joseph G. Riley is promoted to Fire Lieutenant, the promotion being effective on Thursday, October 17th, 2002. Lieutenant Riley is transferred to and assigned to Group # 3, effective at 0730 hrs. on Friday, October 18th, 2002. His last tour of duty as a firefighter assigned to Group # 4 will be the 24 hour shift on Sunday, October 13th, 2002. Firefighter Robert P. Trant is transferred from Group # 3 to Group # 4, effective at 0730 hrs. on Sunday, October 27th, 2002. His last tour of duty assigned to Group # 3 will be the 24-hour shift on Friday, October 18th, 2002.

JUNE, 2002 - Wakefield receives a $ 3,500 grant from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to provide our firefighters with Emergency Decontamination Training. (Please see our photo gallery).

MAY, 2002 - BBC Contracting of Rockland, MA. takes possession of the Police and Fire Stations, and demolition begins signifying the beginning of the 18 month construction project. (Please see our photo gallery for photos of the demolition and construction)

APRIL 16, 2002 - MOVING DAY!!! Today, Firefighters and their apparatus moved from our 102 year old Central Fire Station at 37 Crescent Street to a temporary Headquarters at the DPW facility at 35 North Avenue. At the same time, Administrative and Fire Prevention Offices moved to the Montrose School at 531 Lowell Street. Although it was a hectic day, the actual move went well without any interruption in fire alarm, radio, telephones, etc.

FEBRUARY 28, 2002 - Firefighter Gary Curran retires from the Wakefield Fire Department after 32 years of service.

JANUARY 31, 2002 - Firefighter Philip Rogers, Sr. retired from the department, after serving the department for 28 years.

JANUARY 7th, 2002 - Firefighters Michael Long and Brian Purcell graduate from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Recruit Training Program. Firefighter Long is assigned to Group 1, Firefighter Purcell to Group 2.

JANUARY, 2002 - The year 2001 was the busiest year in the history of the Wakefield Fire Department, with the department answering 2,913 emergency incidents.

DECEMBER, 2001 - Wakefield Firefighter Robert Trant graduates from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy 160 hour Haz Mat Technician program. Firefighter Trant is also appointed to the Metrofire District 2 Haz Mat response team, assigned to 'Team E'.

NOVEMBER 5th, 2001 - Town Meeting approves $ 10.3 million dollars for the construction of a new combined public safety building at the site of the present Police and Fire stations on Crescent and Union Streets. Construction is expected to start in May of 2002, and both departments immediately start planning to relocate.

NOVEMBER, 2001 - Action Ambulance donates a used 1994 Ford E-350 former ambulance to the department for use by our newly former Dive Team.

OCTOBER, 2001 - Michael Long and Brian Purcell are appointed Permanent Firefighters, and start the Recruit Training Program at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy on October 18th.

Wakefield adopts the Community Alert Network (CAN) system, a high speed computerized telephone notification system.

SEPTEMBER, 2001 - Wakefield receives a $ 4,950.00 Federal FIRE Act Grant for Fire Prevention programs.

JUNE, 2001 - On Saturday, June 30th, 2001, the Town of Wakefield experienced what many consider to be the worst thunderstorm in the townís history. Viscous lightning resulted in 35 emergency incident responses in just under one hour. The Police and Fire Headquarters took a direct hit, knocking out 911 service, radios, telephones, etc.

MAY 2001 - On May 3rd, 2002, a new 2000 Seagrave TB 1250 GPM/750 GWT / 30 GFT pumper was placed into service as Engine 2 at the Greenwood Fire Station. The former Engine 2, a 1979 Mack 1000 GPM pumper was traded in to the dealer, who in turn sold this unit to the Reading Fire Department to become Reading Engine 1.

On May 4th, the department was called to handle a ruptured high pressure natural gas pipe on North Avenue near Church Street. As a precaution, traffic was detoured, surrounding properties evacuated, and hose lines stretched, but no ignition occurred.

Firefighter Arthur DellíArciprete retired from the Wakefield Fire Department after 29 years of dedicated service.

On May 19th, the Wakefield and Lynnfield Fire Departments participated in a confined space rescue drill at a abandoned water tank at Jefferson-Smurfit Co. on Audubon Road.