Wakefield Fire Department News

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December 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 261 emergency incidents during the month of December 2008 including 43 Box Alarms and 218 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 4 mutual aid requests during December, two to Melrose, one to Reading, and one to Lynnfield and received mutual aid once from Reading.

All public and private schools, nursing homes, hotels, and boarding houses received quarterly fire inspections.

The department responded to a large brush fire in the Crystal Lake Park forest area off of Woodland Road on December 15th.   Firefighter Philip Rogers, a member of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, was deployed to the state of New Hampshire to assist in recovery operations related to the ice storms of early December that caused extensive damage in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

November 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 223 emergency incidents during the month of November 2008 including 32 Box Alarms and 191 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 3 mutual aid requests during November, two to the city of Melrose and one to the Town of Saugus and received mutual aid 1 time in November from Stoneham.

Fire Department activities during the month of November included:

During November the department’s SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) were inspected, tested, and repaired as necessary, and the department’s UHF radio system also received its annual testing and “tune-up” during the month.

The Department monitored a significant blasting operation on Montrose Avenue at a new residential development known as Grace Court.  There was also a single day of blasting in November at the site of the former Montrose School on Lowell Street.

The department participated in a multi-hazard evacuation drill at the Dolbeare Elementary School.  A tiger cub den from Cub Scout pack 722 visited fire headquarters on Saturday, November 22nd.

October 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 244 emergency incidents during the month of October 2008 including 47 Box Alarms and 197 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 1 mutual aid request during October to the Town of Saugus and received mutual aid 1 time in October from Stoneham.

Fire Department activities during the month of October included:

The department responded to a residential structure fire at 360 Water Street on October 17th. The accidental fire started in the attic and caused a considerable amount of smoke and water damage throughout the residence. Although the occupants of this occupancy will be displaced while the damage is repaired, the structure itself was saved and will be rebuilt.

Wakefield Engine 2 responded to a serious house fire on Mount Vernon Street in Saugus during the early morning hours of October 29th. Engine 2’s crew worked with other mutual aid companies and Saugus fire to help bring this fire under control.

The department participated in multi-hazard evacuation drills at the Greenwood School, the Walton School, and the Wakefield High School.

The department hosted a Massachusetts Firefighting Academy training course on Hazardous Materials Decontamination procedures On October 15th. All department members conducted training in an abandoned house owned by the light department on North Avenue scheduled to be torn.  This training involved a rare opportunity to make openings in a pitched roof with the use of power saws under controlled non-fire conditions. Additional training was conducted by all groups on chimney fire procedures.

Fire Prevention Week was observed the week of October 5th thru 11th. Preschool groups from Canterbury Children’s Center visited fire headquarters and kindergarten classes from the Greenwood School visited the Greenwood fire station. Members of the North Suburban family network visited fire headquarters on October 25th. Ladder 1 also made a fire safety visit to the Children’s Center on Water Street on October 14th. Employees at the Edgewater office park participated in fire drills in observance of this important week as well.

September 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 223 emergency incidents during the month of September 2008 including 45 Box Alarms and 178 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 4 mutual aid requests during September, including 3 responses to Melrose and 1 to Lynnfield. The department received mutual aid 1 time in September from Lynnfield.

Fire Department activities during the month of September included:

Wakefield firefighters John Mercurio, Timothy Robblee, and Cliff Silva successfully completed 12 weeks of rigorous training at the Massachusetts firefighting Academy and graduated with the 181st class on September 26th. Firefighter Mercurio will be assigned to Group 2 under Captain Joseph Riley.  Firefighter Timothy Robblee will be assigned to group 1 under Captain David Myette. Firefighter Cliff Silva will be assigned to group 3 under Captain Richard Smith.

The department responded to a serious accident involving a motorcycle on September 20th at 632 Main Street. The operator of the motorcycle was transported by the Medflight medical helicopter to a Boston hospital.

Wakefield firefighter Philip Rogers was deployed to the Atlanta, Georgia area during the end of August and first week of September as a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team stationed in Beverly, Massachusetts. Although the team was never actually needed, they were part of a nation-wide effort by FEMA to prepare for hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Fire drills were conducted in all public and private schools in Wakefield as the new school year got started. Several schools also held their evacuation drills with the remainder schools scheduled for October. All department members conducted annual practical training with the Jaws of Life, air bags, and other rescue tools.  An additional training program was also conducted by all groups with the Red Cross.

Quarterly inspections were completed on all schools, nursing homes, hotels, and boarding houses. All fifteen facilities granted a liquor license in town also received a fire inspection as required by law.

August 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 228 emergency incidents during the month of August 2008 including 27 Box Alarms and 201 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 7 mutual aid requests during August, including Melrose (4), Lynn (1), Lynnfield (1) and North Reading (1). The department received mutual aid 2 times in August from Stoneham and Reading.

Fire Department activities during the month of August included:

The department responded to a structure fire at 2 A.M. on August 13th at 17 Albion Street, successfully containing a fire to the second floor front apartment and adjacent hallway. Adjoining properties on each side of the fire building were less than 5 feet away. The building suffered no significant structural damage although the remainder of the building suffered smoke and water damage. The rapid extinguishment of this fire was primarily due to the fact that the department was able to respond with two engines and a ladder truck, allowing for all of the necessary fire fighting tasks to be performed in an efficient and timely manner. One occupant received burns to his hand and was treated and released at a local hospital.

Engine 2, assigned to the Greenwood fire station, responded to the town of North Reading on August 23rd and covered their headquarters during a serious house fire in that community. Engine 2 also responded to a tragic pedestrian accident on Greenwood Street On August 25th that sadly took the life of a Melrose woman.

The department received a generous donation of $1,000 from Irving Gas/Blue Canoe for the replacement of fire fighting foam to be used during training and is once again grateful for the private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

July 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 264 emergency incidents during the month of July 2008 including 47 Box Alarms and 217 Still Alarms.

The fire department responded to 11 mutual aid requests during July, including Melrose (4), Lynn (2), Stoneham (2), Peabody (1), Lynnfield (1) and Reading (1). The department received mutual aid 1 time in July from Stoneham.

Fire Department activities during the month of July included:

The department responded to a structure fire on July 16th at the Dockside Restaurant at 1099 Main Street, successfully keeping a fire in an outside wall from extending into the building. An electrical fire on the exterior of the Wells Fargo building at 1105 Main Street was also confined to the building’s exterior on July 25th. Both of these incidents occurred in the greenwood section of town a short distance from the greenwood fire station. Engine 2, assigned to the Greenwood fire station, responded to two serious out of town fires in July rendering mutual aid to the Town of Stoneham on the evening of July 4th at a house fire on Winthrop Street and responding on July 16th to another house fire at 386 Franklin street in the city of Melrose.

A new “Jaws of Life” extrication tool and associated equipment were placed into service during the month of July. The funding for this was entirely paid for by private donations at no cost to the Town of Wakefield due to the efforts of retired Fire Chief David Parr. The following donations were made to the department this month to finish paying for this equipment: Crystal Motor Express ($1,000), Mun Su Sa Buddhist Temple ($1,000), The Wakefield Rotary Club ($500), and Metropcs ($3,000). This equipment replaced worn out and obsolete rescue tools and represents a significant improvement to the department’s overall rescue capabilities at the scene of a serious vehicle accident involving occupant entrapment. The department is once again grateful for the private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

June 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 244 emergency incidents during the month of June 2008 including 45 Box Alarms and 199 Still Alarms.

The most serious incident handled by the fire department during the month of June was a 2-alarm house fire at 10 Evans Place in Greenwood on June 29, 2008. Evans Place is a very steep and narrow street off Oak Street, which presented a significant problem in accessing this fire with our equipment. This combined with a serious house fire and hot, muggy weather conditions resulted in the Incident Commander Captain Paul Pronco to transmit a second alarm for additional resources. Firefighters did an excellent job under difficult conditions controlling this fire and limiting damage to the home.

The fire department responded to 3 mutual aid requests during June, including Melrose (2) and Lynnfield (1). The department received mutual aid 6 times in June, from Stoneham (2), Reading (1) Melrose (1), North Reading (1), and Lynnfield (1).

Fire Department activities during the month of June included:

The department received another generous donation from the Smurfit Stone Corporation in the amount of $7,000 which will be used to purchase a new technology Thermal Imaging Camera for Engine 2 at the Greenwood Fire Station. We are grateful for the private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

The June report represents the last report that I will submit as your Fire Chief, as I will be using accrued vacation in August and retiring from the Wakefield Fire Department on September 5, 2008. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Town Administrator Steve Maio, retired Town Administrator Tom Butler, all the members of the Boards of Selectmen, Finance Committees, and especially, firefighters past and present and the residents of Wakefield for their support over my 30+ year career. It has been an honor to serve as your Fire Chief and I am grateful to the Town of Wakefield for providing me with a fruitful and rewarding career.

May 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 235 emergency incidents during the month of May 2008 including 43 Box Alarms and 192 Still Alarms.

Some of the varied and somewhat unusual incidents responded to and handled by the department during the month of May included:

Scene of a multi-vehicle accident on 128 (photo by Ken Robishaw)

The fire department responded to 5 mutual aid requests during May, including Melrose (3) and Saugus (2). The department received mutual aid 4 times in May, from Stoneham (1), Reading (2) and Lynnfield (1).

Fire Department activities during the month of May included:

Wakefield also participated in a very successful Functional Emergency Exercise, sponsored by the Mystic Regional Emergency Planning Group that was held on May 6, 2008.

The department received another generous donation from The Alcoa Foundation in the amount of $8,000.00 that will be used to support our 2008 – 2009 school fire & burn safety education program. We are grateful for the private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

April 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 214 emergency incidents during the month of April 2008 including 34 Box Alarms and 180 Still Alarms. April, particularly the end of the month was very dry and firefighters were kept busy with outside brush and grass fires.

On April 28th Firefighters battled an intense and stubborn chimney fire at a home on Newhall Court. Under the direction of Captain Paul J. Pronco, firefighters were able to confine the fire to the chimney itself, minimizing damage to the home interior.

The fire department responded to 5 mutual aid requests during April, including Melrose (1), Saugus (3), and Lynnfield (1). Wakefield Firefighters assisted Saugus Firefighters in battling a ferocious 3-alarm fire on April 24th that resulted in several occupants being rescued by firefighters over ladders. The department received mutual aid from Stoneham (1) and Melrose (1) during April.

Fire Department activities during the month of April included:

The department received another generous donation from The Savings Bank in the amount of $2,500.00 that will be used in conjunction with grant(s) to purchase / upgrade the departments hydraulic and air powered rescue tools, aka the “Jaws of Life”. We are grateful for the private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

Firefighter Robert J. Brown was granted a civil service – lateral transfer to the Chelsea Fire Department, effective on April 20, 2008. We wish Firefighter Brown good luck in his new endeavor.

The Wakefield Firefighters Union held their third annual Retirement Party on April 25th. At this event, the department honored recent retirees Captain John F. Brown, Jr. and Firefighter Russell C. Berube. Also recognized for dedicated service where Captain Richard Smith (35 Years), Chief David Parr, Lieut. Kevin Carney, Firefighters Jerry McCullough, Gene Doucette (30 years), Firefighters Tom Curran, John Riley and Rick Cardavelli (25 years) and Firefighter Dan Sullivan (20 years).

Chief Parr (center) and recent retirees FF Russ Berube and Captain John Brown. Photo by Mike Angelo - Wakefield Daily Item

March 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 220 emergency incidents during the month of March 2008 including 38 Box Alarms and 182 Still Alarms. The department continues to be kept busy dealing with a higher than usual number of carbon monoxide detector activations and heating system emergencies.

The fire department responded to 6 mutual aid requests during March, including Melrose (2), Saugus (1), Lynnfield (1) and Stoneham (2). The department received mutual aid from Stoneham on 2 occasions during March.

Fire Department activities during the month of March included:

The department received four generous donations during March totaling $7,000 that will be used in conjunction with grant(s) to purchase / upgrade the departments hydraulic and air powered rescue tools, aka the “Jaws of Life”. These donations were made by the Wakefield Co-Operative Bank, Hobbs Brook Management, the owners of 601 and 701 Edgewater Drive, the Sheraton Colonial Hotel and Sprint-Nextel. We are grateful for this private support and assistance during these tough financial times.

In the area of Emergency Management, we received additional supplies of portable cots and shelter personal hygiene kits. In addition, we met with the Red Cross to survey and certify the Dolbeare School, Woodville School, St. Joseph’s Church and the Americal Civic Center as emergency shelter facilities.

February 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 233 emergency incidents during the month of February 2008 including 55 Box Alarms and 178 Still Alarms.

On Sunday evening, February 17th at 8:50 PM firefighters were called to 39 Melvin Street where they found a working fire burning in a third floor kitchen area. Under the direction of Acting Fire Captain Kevin Carney, firefighters made quick and excellent work of the fire containing it to the rear of the third floor. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire was determined to be accidental.

The fire department responded to 7 mutual aid requests during February, including Melrose (2), Saugus (2), Lynn (2) and Reading (1). The department received mutual aid from Stoneham and Reading during February.

Fire Department activities during the month of February included:

J. Riley promoted to CaptainR. Taggart promoted to LieutenantWakefield Fire Lieutenant Joseph G. Riley was promoted to Fire Captain on February 1, 2008. Captain Riley replaces Captain John F. Brown who retired in January. Captain Riley has been assigned as the Fire Prevention Officer. To fill new Captain Riley’s Lieutenant position, Firefighter Robert J. Taggart was promoted to Fire Lieutenant, also on February 1st. Lieutenant Taggart has been assigned to the Greenwood Station on Group # 3.

John T. Mercurio of 47 Oak Street, Wakefield and Clifford P. Silva of 1 Furness Circle Wakefield were appointed Permanent Firefighters effective on February 28, 2008. The new firefighters replace Captain Brown and Firefighter Russ Berube who retired in October of 2007. Their appointment brings the department back to its budgeted authorized number of 46.FF John T. Mercurio appointedFF Cliff Silva appointed

It was with regret that the Fire Department – Dive Rescue Team was disbanded during February, due to budgetary issues. There simply has not been any funding, nor does there appear to be funding in the future for the important and necessary ongoing training required by the Dive Team to remain proficient. The department appreciates the hard work performed by the members of the Dive Rescue Team while it was active.

January 2008

The Wakefield Fire Department responded to 224 emergency incidents during the month of January 2008 including 43 Box Alarms and 181 Still Alarms. The department was kept quite busy during January handling the usual calls related to our cold weather, including numerous heating system problems, carbon monoxide alarm activations, and water problems related to frozen and burst pipes.

At 2:09 AM on the morning of January16th, Firefighters on Engine 1 and Ladder 1 under the direction of Captain Paul Pronco responded to a North Avenue parking lot for a motor vehicle fire. Upon arrival, firefighters found a 2003 Ford pick-up truck totally engulfed in flames. As they extinguished the fire they made the grim discovery of the body of a 49-year old Stoneham resident inside the vehicle. The appropriate law enforcement and fire investigation units were called to the scene and this incident remains under investigation.

The fire department responded to 4 mutual aid requests during January, including Melrose (2), and Lynnfield (2). The department did not receive mutual aid in January.

Fire Department activities during the month of January included:

Retired Captain John BrownWakefield Fire Captain John F. Brown, Jr. retired from the Wakefield Fire Department on January 10th, 2008 after serving the fire department for 35 years. Captain Brown was appointed a Provisional Firefighter on October 20, 1972; a Permanent Firefighter on November 21, 1972; promoted to Fire Lieutenant on August 23, 1979; and promoted to Fire Captain on June 2, 1983. At the time of his retirement, Captain Brown was the senior Captain in the fire department. We thank Captain Brown for his service and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.

Wakefield Firefighter Joseph Cardarelli was appointed a member of the Massachusetts – Metrofire – Hazardous Materials Response Team in January. We are pleased to once again have representation on this very valuable and important regional resource to the Town of Wakefield.

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