After Fall from Aerial, Mass. Firefighter Released

The Essex firefighter was treated for back and chest injuries.

April 28--ESSEX -- An Essex firefighter who was airlifted to Boston after being injured fighting a late Friday night Cogswell Court house fire was released Sunday from Brigham & Women's Hospital, Fire Chief Dan Doucette said.

Firefighter George Stavros sustained chest and back injuries when he fell from a ladder while battling the blaze that heavily damaged a 144-year-old home at 10 Cogswell Court.

Doucette said another firefighter, Lt. David Thompson, was also hurt battling the fire, which broke out around 10:30 p.m., but he did not require transport from the scene.

Homeowners John and Kimberly Drake escaped the home without injury.

"I don't know what happened, we were sleeping," Kimberly Drake said as she tearfully walked around her house, a single-family two-bedroom home of approximately 1,429 square feet. It was built in 1870.

"I saw (the fire) on the porch and called 911 right away," neighbor Dave Warner said.

Stavros fell from the ladder of a ladder truck that had been extended to the roof of the wooden-frame house, hit the porch roof and fell to the ground, according to witness Bruce Toby of 5 Cogswell Court.

He was initially taken by advanced life support to Beverly Hospital, where MedFlight was waiting to take him to Boston. Doucette said Stavros was conscious and alert throughout his ordeal.

Toby's mother-in-law, Mary Muise, said the house was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.

"The whole front of the porch was on fire," she said.

Doucette said Sunday that it appeared the fire, which he termed accidental, started on the porch, in or around an outdoor grill. The blaze then extended into the house and worked its way up into the attic. He said there was extensive damage to the home, and much of the exterior was charred by the flames.

Firefighters from Essex, Manchester, Hamilton, Wenham and Gloucester all responded to the scene, while Ipswich firefighters provided coverage at the Essex station, Doucette said.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-675-2708 or at

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