The Second Great Lynn Fire: 15 Years Later

David Liscio describes the conflagration that ravaged a shoe factory and required mutual aid from 94 communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.


The first indication that the shoe factory fire of Nov. 28, 1981, would be no ordinary two-bagger in Lynn, MA, came when District Chief Paul Kirby quickly radioed for a second and third alarm. Photo by Walter Hoey Within 20 minutes, the fire spread to three buildings, creating...


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Although Lynn is a coastal city, it contains large tracts of woods and rocky highlands, including the 2,200-acre forested Lynn Woods Reservation. It has a mixed-use waterfront, including heavy industry. The housing stock ranges from high-rises for the elderly and the luxury condominium set, to crowded inner city neighborhoods and sprawling suburbs. The property is a blend of commercial and residential.

There are also two plastic companies, a chemical company and a General Electric Co. aircraft engine manufacturing plant. The GE facility had its own fire department but it was disbanded last year, leaving the Lynn Fire Department as its protector. GE retains its own fire safety inspectors.

David Liscio


David Liscio, a Firehouse® correspondent, is a reporter for the Daily Evening Item in Lynn, MA, and a call firefighter in Nahant, MA.