04-09-2000, 05:55 PM #1Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Mother nature reminding us New England Can Burn...
Quite a day Saturday, eh Chief Winston?
From C-12's post on fire wire:
Plymouth Bristol county Task force has been activated.
Concord District 13 taskforce has been activated with20 homes threatened.
Reading 3 alarm brush fire.
Methuen 3 alarm brushfire destroyed 3 structures.
Ashburham 6+ alarm brushfire.
Waltham 2nd alarm brush fire.
Boxford brush extended to a structure fully involved.
Danvers wind blew down a power transformer with explosion and fire. M/A to fire.
Ware multiple alarm brush fire out of control MEMA notified for assistance.
Marston mills brushfire threatenting homes extensive M/A to scene.
Details I got from other sources also said the Concord fire temproarily trapped five fighters at one point, and burned through hoses stretched to protect houses.
The Warren/Ware fire drew mutual aid from as far away as Tolland County, CT. -- at the same time Tolland recalled extra dispatchers, started dispatching extra companies to all brush fires, and actually had to move up brush trucks on standby assignments. The Warren/Ware fire also consumed a 60x100' barn.
I standing here in 20mph sustained winds (the flags were all snapping in the wind) with 60mph gusts...and remembering the stories of conditions when we lost multiple mobile homes to a fire in the 60s. It can and will happen again. We're also seeing a lot more regular houses in the woods...and this time of year lawns are still dry and leaves might not have been raked that blew out of the woods over the winter.
Of course, this is New England, and it's been snowing all day Sunday!
[This message has been edited by Dalmatian90 (edited April 09, 2000).]
04-09-2000, 08:25 PM #2Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Looks like a beautiful day in Massachusetts and then it goes down hill fast. Next time we get a windy day in the Ozarks, I let you know a day or two ahead so you can get ready. Had 35-40 mph on Wednesday, today (Sunday) only 25-25 mph.
Be Safe up there
04-09-2000, 10:22 PM #3MteboFirehouse.com Guest
I am on the Leicester Fire Dept. and we were one of the 20-30 different towns that faught the fire in Ware. It was no doubt the worst fire i have ever seen. The Worcester County task force was activated and was a BIG help in the battle. We ended up letting the hot spots burn and worked the perimeter of the 100+ acre fire......with the expected rain much of the task force was released and they worked on protecting the houses overnight.
At the same time, in the next town over, Warren, they were battling a fire about the same size as well as dealing with a 2 story wooden barn that burned to the ground.
I think every single fire dept and fire fighter deserves a round of a applause for surviving HOPEFULLY the worst brush fire DAY in a long time...
04-10-2000, 04:30 PM #4Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
From the Springfield Union-News
Firefighters modest after mass blaze
Monday, April 10, 2000
By ADEEL HASSAN
Firemen remain modest
WARE — They talked like it was all in a day's work.
Like anyone works non-stop for seven hours to put out a brush fire that consumed 450 to 500 acres in the southwest corner of town.
Like hiking through rough terrain and wilderness to put out a fire with rakes and shovels, because your hoses can't reach that far, was of no more consequence than answering a ringing phone.
But the day after a wind-charged brush fire brought 145 firefighters from 45 towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut here, Fire Capt. Thomas W. Coulombe, 43, and firefighter Daniel R. Danitis, 45, were back on duty at the Ware Fire Department, watching auto racing on ESPN, and acting like it was a normal weekend.
It was anything but that.
At 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, while Coulombe was in Springfield with 13 new recruits for burn training and Danitis was fighting small brush fires off Gilbertville Road and Old Gilbertville Road in town, a resident reported a small brush fire, in the woods off West Warren Road.
"It looks like it was caused by a carelessly disposed cigarette," Coulombe said. "It started right off the road. Here's a perfect example of what can happen on a given day."
By 2:30 p.m., with winds gusting over 35 mph, it quickly spread both downhill and uphill toward Warren.
"It's been a relatively dry period, so there was plenty of fuel on the ground to spread the fire," Coulombe said. "The fire was pretty active, it just raced atop the surface with all that wind."
According to the incident report, the land is called West Warren Hill and is owned by Ware resident Dennis Madigan. It is also referred to as Coy Hill and "Whiskey Hill" to those in town.
Thirty-five members of the Ware Fire Department were called in and arrived immediately on scene, according to Coulombe. Mutual aid agreements kicked in and nearby towns sent personnel, tankers, brush trucks and pumpers within minutes.
The fire blazed from the southwestern tip of town northeast to St. Mary's Cemetery and crossed into Warren.
"It was very rough terrain, very difficult wild land to get through," Coulombe said. "It was all handwork. We had to use rakes, shovels, and brooms to try and get the fire out."
For Danitis, the day was equally difficult.
"Every time we put a smoldering spot out, another one would pop up. I couldn't even use my hose, I couldn't get it around some of the cliffs and there wouldn't have been enough pressure that far away to do any good."
While the wind was fueling the fire, much of Ware was fueling its firefighters.
"The businesses in town were very good to us," Coulombe said. "Family members and friends were bringing sandwiches and drinks. Wal-Mart said take whatever you want by the handful. From the very beginning, we were taken care of."
The fire was brought under control at 9:30 p.m. and while most of the personnel from other towns had left, a couple of Ware units stayed on until 1:30 a.m.
Four firefighters went to the hospital and were treated for smoke inhalation and dehydration, and one had a burn to his ear and face, Coulombe said. All were treated and released by yesterday morning.
"We could have dealt with sprained ankles and broken ankles, especially at night" Coulombe said. "There were many opportunities for someone to get injured out there."
The department's success this weekend can partly be attributed to an "Incident Management" class that all members took on March 17 and 18. The class dealt with handling large incidents, such as Saturday afternoon's.
"It helped a lot," Coulombe said. "We weren't perfect, but we were a lot better than we would have been without that class. This had all the potential of lasting much longer."
Just two weeks ago, two bodies were found in the same wooded area off West Warren Road in an apparent murder-suicide.
Saturday's fire came nearly a year after a forest fire in Russell claimed the life of the deputy fire chief in that town and burned more than 1,200 acres of woodland.
"The rain couldn't have come at a better time," Coulombe said of the midnight shower that extinguished whatever was left.
04-10-2000, 07:59 PM #5SWIDFCWINSFirehouse.com Guest
Last Saturday, April 8th, was one for the books to be sure. I was on duty in Boston and my scanner radio was not receiving well because the high winds were bending my outside anntena. Boston had NO brush fires, but did fight a massive 9 alarm boat storage yacht club fire that extended to some homes. So, I didn't know what was happening throughout this state until I started for home at about 3pm and switched on my car's scanner. I knew then that things were out of hand. So many locations were in trouble all at once. In my own town a large W/UI incident had already begun. I headed there and saw what a great job was done by the local FDs in saving many homes under difficult wind driven fire conditions. Mutual aid was stretched to its limits in most of Massachusetts. At least 17 major fire incidents were ongoing along with numerous other smaller jobs. At night it rained and we had some snow flurries the next day. Monday, April 10th was another class 5 fire day. Fires were few to be found. Go figure! This is spring fire season in Massachusetts. W/UI is here, strongly, in this state. It is not just a western or a southern U.S.fire problem. This will last until mid May. And then the summer can be dry as the desert in this region. Tuesday is opening day for the baseball season with the Red Sox. Supposed to be cold with rain or some snow?? Next weekend we could be making headlines again with another class 5 day or even a Red Flag Warning Day. Stay tuned, fans!
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