Space heater may have sparked Salem blaze
By Tom Dalton
SALEM — A space heater is the likely cause of a spectacular early morning fire that gutted a two-family house near the downtown yesterday.
The three-alarm fire at 74 Endicott St. left the building's owner and two tenants homeless, but all escaped serious injury, according to the Fire Department.
The building suffered major damage and virtually all of the contents were destroyed or damaged, officials said. The roof of the green, two-story building had gaping holes and most of the second floor did not appear to be salvageable, a city building official said.
Although investigators have not yet determined the cause, fire officials say the blaze began around 4 a.m. yesterday in a room on the second floor where a small electric heater was being used.
"We know that (the second-floor occupant) said he was using a space heater in his room," said Peter Schaeublin, a Fire Department spokesman. "That's what we're leaning towards."
The three occupants of the house had made their way outside when fire trucks arrived around 4:30 a.m. Two dogs and a rabbit also escaped.
The building's owner, Bernard Mulligan, 77, lived on the second floor and told officials he was using an electric heater, according to police.
Mulligan, the owner of a local martial arts school, was taken to Salem Hospital where he was treated for burns, according to the Fire Department.
"He has minor superficial burns on his face and smoke inhalation," said Bob Whelan, an instructor at Shodokan, the martial arts school on Franklin Street that Mulligan founded and where he still works as an instructor.
The two first-floor tenants, Jonni Lindsey, 49, and her daughter, Kelly Lindsey, 22, were not injured, according to the Fire Department. The American Red Cross put them up at a local hotel, a fire official said.
The Police Department received a phone call at 4:19 a.m. of a "heavy fire" at the house on Endicott Street, which is located between Jefferson Avenue and Broad Street, a short distance from police headquarters.
Deputy Fire Chief Brian Harrington was one of the first on the scene and immediately struck a second alarm. When Harrington arrived, the heaviest smoke and fire was coming from a room on the second floor, according to a Fire Department report.
"The fire did get some headway before we got there," Fire Chief Dave Cody said. "One room was fully involved."
The crew from Engine 1 — Lt. Richard Arno and firefighters John O'Leary and Patrick Tobin — went up the front stairs, while the crew from Engine 4 — Capt. Kevin Koen and firefighters John Thomas and John Morrison — entered the rear of the building. Within minutes, however, they were ordered back outside.
"The fire was so advanced the ceiling started collapsing right away," Cody said.
The sub-zero temperatures made it difficult to fight the fire. The first hydrant firefighters tried was working, but the next two were frozen, forcing them to go farther down the street for water. After the fire, the Fire Department put out a call for residents to clear hydrants near their homes.
Endicott Street neighbors stood out on the street and also looked from inside their homes at the spectacle of fire and ice. Flames shot from the top floor while the water from the hoses left trees and bushes coated with ice.
"The flames were going so high we got nervous," said Winifred Coombs, who lives across the street. "I'll tell you it was something with the sparks going. Thank God nobody got hurt."
Fire departments responded from several neighboring communities, including Beverly, Swampscott, Peabody, Danvers and Lynn.
A former U.S. Marine who learned martial arts while stationed in Japan, Mulligan founded Shodokan in 1962 and still teaches aikido and judo, according to Whelan.
Mulligan was at Salem Hospital late yesterday afternoon but was doing well, according to Whelan, who said he was getting many phone calls from students and friends concerned about Mulligan.
"He's in unbelievably good spirits," Whelan said yesterday afternoon. "His intention is to come immediately down (to the school) to teach the 6 o'clock class."
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Thread: Shovel your hydrents!!!!!
01-30-2005, 02:04 PM #1
Shovel your hydrents!!!!!I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
01-30-2005, 05:56 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- Bay City, MI
We send our crews out to shovel hydrants after big snowfalls. Some residents are very good about shoveling them out for us. We sometimes get a little shout out from the news or local paper asking residents to do this. From the article above it looks like that fire had a good headstart, don't think the hydrants would have made a big difference.
01-30-2005, 06:10 PM #3
Yep and it depends on what was frozen.The snow around them or the barrel.If the barrels froze,you're getting no water period!And that's my suspicion on this one,it been a bit nippy lately.T.C.
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