Freezing Temps and Hoarding Hamper Longmeadow Firefighters at Third-Alarm
Photo by Nate Arnold Fire vents from the 'Delta' side entryway.
Photo by Nate Arnold LFD members attempt to vent the roof early on in the operation.
Photo by Nate Arnold
LONGMEADOW, MA - January 20th proved to be a chaotic night for Longmeadow firefighters. When a Police Officer in the Town of Wilbraham two towns away was shot by a suspect while responding to an emergency call and then the suspect barricaded himself in the dwelling, Longmeadow firefighters and police officers were called to respond as part of a regional mobilization of resources to assist at that scene.
While that incident was still underway, a passerby saw heavy smoke issuing from a two-story, wood-frame, single-family home on Longmeadow St. back in town. Shortly after the 10:20 P.M. 911 call, the on duty members still in town arrived on scene to find heavy smoke pushing from the 'Alpha' side and fire venting from the 'Charlie' side of this large home, set back several yards from the street. A second-alarm was sounded, bringing mutual aid to the scene from East Longmeadow, MA, and Enfield, CT (North Thompsonville and Shaker Pines Fire Districts).
Crews attempted to make a push into the building several times over in the first minutes of the operation, but severe hoarding conditions on every floor prevented them from making headway fighting the fire from inside. Longmeadow St. command ordered the evac tones sounded and crews switched to a defensive attack. The building however, proved difficult for even a defensive operation, as it was found to have multiple roofs, including slate tile and asphalt shingle, pancaked on each other, rendering vertical ventilation almost impossible.
Crews then settled in for an hours-long operation which saw members using every master stream and large caliber hand line to knock the fire down from outside and the sounding of the third-alarm for manpower purposes so members could rotate between the rehab unit and the fireground as the air temperature at the time of the fire was 14 degrees above zero. The property owner was away on vacation at the time of the fire, so no civilian injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.