1. #1
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    Jul 2003

    Default Firefighters corral three-alarm blaze at North Shore Music Theatre

    I was called at 1200 am for this being sent out on the second alarm........didnt leave till 230. The "tent" building on there site was the one on fire........Hackensack Ford came to mind. http://www.nsmt.org/

    Firefighters corral three-alarm blaze at North Shore Music Theatre

    By Jamie Jamieson and Jill Harmacinski
    Staff writers

    writePage("BEVERLY More than 75 firefighters from across the North Shore tangled with a mysterious three-alarm fire that saturated the North Shore Music Theatre with thick smoke last night.

    Firefighters also had to battle the heat and humidity in the 81-degree night, though all emerged without injury."The entire theater was a tremendous ball of heat and smoke," said Beverly fire Chief Richard Pierce, who was inside the building with the crews. "It was awful. The temperature inside was unbearable."

    A Beverly police officer spotted smoke coming from the theater-in-the-round at about 11:30 p.m, 90 minutes after the building had been locked down for the night following a performance of "Cinderella."

    While the officer called for fire personnel, the building's automated fire-suppression system and alarm went off and the sprinkler system kicked on.

    "This theater has the best fire protection of anything in the area," said Bud Rehal, director of facilities, who rushed back to the theater from his home in Beverly.Once they had responded to the officer's call, it took Beverly firefighters and crews from nine surrounding towns an hour and a half to locate the fire under the stage and bring it under control.Peabody, Salem, Middleton, Manchester, Hamilton, Danvers and Swampscott departments responded to the fire, and teams of firefighters searched the darkened building for the source of the smoke. Marblehead and Topsfield firefighters were called in later for relief. Throughout the endeavor, Peabody volunteer Roger Baker, who runs the Rehab 5 wagon, set up a station near the scene, giving ice water and Gatorade to firefighters, and operating a series of fans to cool them off as they exited the building gasping for breath.

    "I encourage them, when they can, to get some fresh air," Baker said. "I tell them to unbutton their jackets and take their hoods off." Shortly after midnight, a "compressor" trailer was brought in, and firefighters took turns recharging their air tanks before heading back inside.Through most of the early morning, four aerial ladder trucks surrounded the theater "in case this thing took off," Pierce said."They had a lot of heat upstairs," said Lt. Peter O'Connor as the main source of the fire was brought under control at 12:52 a.m.

    O'Connor said firefighters had to navigate using their infrared cameras because the smoke was so thick inside the theater.

    When firefighters looked up to the rafters above, the roof glowed red on the thermal-imaging camera screens.

    "It was real hot, and you couldn't see anything in there," O'Connor said.To make matters worse, the building's sprinklers soaked the stage, making it difficult to pinpoint the flames.

    "The sprinklers were working, but the fire was getting worse," Pierce said. "That was the hardest thing, locating the seat of the fire. It's just such a big place.

    "O'Connor said he was especially worried about the building's truss-style roof, which can collapse easily under stress. Firefighters had to scramble to the top to bang the vents open. "We wanted to get them open and clear (firefighters) off the roof as soon as possible," O'Connor said.Eventually, firefighters were able to use their departments' large fans, as well as the theater's own ventilation system, to clear the building of smoke.

    Though no estimate was available last night, smoke, fire and water damage was extensive enough to force cancellation of all performances at least through the weekend. Julie Arbedon, spokeswoman for the theater, said all shows will be rescheduled, and all tickets will be honored.

    Ticketholders will find updates on the theater's Web site, www.nsmt.org. They can also try calling the box office at (978) 232-7200.Opened in 1955, the theater is situated on 26 acres in the woods at the end of Dunham Road, right of Route 128. About 400,000 people a year now attend musicals, celebrity concerts and children's shows in its 1,800-seat theater-in-the-round.

    The theater has been planning to build three new theaters as part of an ambitious, $66.4 million expansion.The expansion would enable North Shore Music Theatre to host touring performances of the Boston Symphony and Boston Ballet, as well as to develop its own shows and export them "directly to Broadway," according to the plan.Photojournalists Paul Bilodeau and Jim Daly contributed to this report. ");
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Jul 2003


    Fog machine blamed in theater fire; $3 million in damage

    (single page view)
    (view as multiple pages)By Andrew Hickey
    Staff writer

    BEVERLY The towering flames that ravaged the North Shore Music Theatre caused more than $3 million in damage, fire investigators said yesterday.

    The stage is totaled. The 1,800 cushioned seats and pricey carpets are charged with the acrid smell of smoke and will need to be replaced. And most of the interior sustained heavy smoke, flame and water damage, said Beverly firefighter Paul Rideout, a department spokesman.

    "The stage itself is destroyed completely," he said. "All of the seats are damaged due to smoke. You'll never be able to get that smell out."

    Rideout said the department's Fire Investigation Unit determined yesterday morning that a fog machine used during performances sparked the 11:30 p.m. blaze. Rideout said the machine, which was stored underneath the stage, somehow malfunctioned and sparked an electrical fire. Investigators have ruled the fire an accident.

    Investigators said yesterday the machine, which emits smoke or mist for dramatic effect, was damaged and it could not be determined whether it had been left on after a performance of "Cinderella" let out.

    "Common sense would tell you it probably wasn't turned off," Rideout said.

    Either a spark or intense heat from the fog machine set the stage ablaze. The round, revolving stage is a mix of wood, steel and aluminum and sits in the center of the circular building.

    The blaze started just 90 minutes after the performance let out. The theater was empty and locked down for the night when the fire ignited.

    Police were summoned to the Dunham Road theater when the burglar alarm sensed motion and activated. Responding officers saw smoke and called in fire crews.

    Rideout said yesterday it is likely that the gases, smoke and "dancing flames" tripped the motion sensor, sounding the burglar alarm. Within minutes of that alarm activation, the building's automated fire-suppression system and fire alarms went off, kicking on the sprinkler system. Firefighters said yesterday the sprinklers likely saved the theater from more extensive damage.

    For more than 90 minutes, fire crews from nearly a dozen communities battled the three-alarm flames, which reached 15 to 20 feet high at their peak. The ceilings inside are between 25 and 30 feet high.

    It took crews several minutes to locate the source of the blaze because of the dense smoke and lack of ventilation. Fire Chief Richard Pierce said the inside of the round building was "a tremendous ball of heat and smoke." No injuries were reported.

    Investigative crews remained at the scene until late yesterday afternoon, picking through the rubble. Rideout said the cleanup and repair effort will take some time, though how long is unknown.

    "They're going to have a lot of work to do," he said.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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