Firefighters fought two suspicious fires in Beverly overnight. The first fire was initially reported at 0136 after a woman discovered her car on fire in her driveway. Truck 1, Engine 5 and Engine 3 were dispatched to the scene but the fire had already fully engulfed the vehicle and the car port it was parked under. Flames were also extending into the home. The fire was first visible to companies as they responded up Bridge Street.
Initial arriving crews immediately encountered difficulties after a live power line dropped to the street limiting access then a hose on a propane tank failed releasing a ball of fire that further hampered the firefighters advance. Firefighters from Engine 5 were able to attack the fire from the rear of the home in an attempt to slow the progress of the fire and firefighters from Truck 1 acted quickly to cool a nearby house that’s siding was already melting from the extreme heat.
As firefighters worked to get water on the fire, neighbors helped by dragging hoses to fire hydrant nearly 400 feet behind Truck 1so that a firefighter could attach the hoses and got water to the truck. “It was great to have the help” said Deputy Chief William Walsh “establishing that first water supply was crucial to making sure the fire didn’t get to any other properties”. An additional water supply was established by Salem Engine 2 as they arrived supplying water to Engine 5.
Deputy Chief Walsh ordered a second alarm at 0139 getting firefighters from Danvers, Salem and Manchester to the scene of the fire for assistance. All of the crews worked feverishly to stop the fire from progressing through void spaces in the home. Unfortunately, as crews were stopping the fire on the first floor, conditions on the second floor became untenable as heat built up to the point that it was unsafe to keep crews in the area. Firefighters from Salem opened a hole in the roof to relieve heat, but the fire had already spread down void spaces along the roof line in the front of the home. Crews were ordered out of the building and shortly thereafter a large portion of the roof collapsed into the second floor.
A third alarm was ordered at 0230 bringing firefighters from Wenham, Hamilton, Peabody, and Topsfield to the scene. Once it was safe to do so, crews again entered the building to attack hidden fires. By 0430, crews had knocked down all of the major fire and dug out most of the hot spots allowing the release of firefighters that responded from out of town. One fire engine remains on the scene with fire and police investigators to completely extinguish hot spots while the investigation takes place.
Investigators from the Beverly Fire and Police Departments, Danvers Police Department and Office of the State Fire Marshall will be investigating the cause of the fire which is being considered suspicious right now. More information on the investigation will be available once the investigation is concluded.
Five of the nine occupants were home at the time of the fire. All safely evacuated the building but one female was transported to Beverly Hospital for an evaluation. The home, valued at roughly $180,000 was a complete loss as were an estimated $100,000 in contents. Three vehicles were also damaged by the fire including the car under the carport that was completely destroyed.
Additional assistance at the scene of the fire was provided by Roger Baker from Rehab 5, Northeast Regional Ambulance. Both insured firefighters were properly hydrated and had proper medical attention.
The second suspicious fire occurred during the Folger Ave fire. At 0357 Swampscott firefighters covering Beverly’s Headquarters station were dispatched for a report of a vehicle fire at 3 Hersey Ave. Upon arrival, the crew found a vehicle on fire and quickly knocked it down. There was significant damage to the vehicle. Beverly Fire Investigators and Beverly Police Officers were dispatched to that scene to investigate as well.
Marine 1 Response
At 0100 on August 2, the Beverly Fire Department received a mutual aid request for a fully involved fishing boat in Marblehead Harbor. This request prompted the dispatch of the Beverly Fire Department’s Fire Rescue vessel called Marine 1.
Marine 1 is a 30’ aluminum boat designed specifically for fire and rescue operations. Equipped with a fire pump similar to those in a typical fire engine, the vessel is capable of deploying large volumes of water (1500 gallons per minute) through multiple discharges. This increased volume of water makes the vessel capable of putting out large fires far more quickly than other boats with fire pumps or even the Beverly Fire Department’s last fire boat (250 gallons per minute). The vessel was purchased with funds provided by a Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant.
Marine 1 responded to Marblehead with three Beverly Firefighters who immediately upon arrival placed the fire pump in operation knocking down the heavy fire that was consuming the vessel. The crew, using a remote operated nozzle, played water on the boat for approximately fifteen minutes dousing hidden fires in void spaces along the deck.
In addition to providing fire response, Marine 1 is a response platform for the Beverly Fire Department’s Dive Rescue team. The team trains with the vessel monthly and while the team will respond across Essex County, members would rely on marine 1 in waters off all coastal communities