By Paul Koolloian
A four-alarm fire tore through a Cottage Street home on Friday evening, April 22.
Chelsea 911 started receiving multiple calls for smoke coming from a building at 61 Cottage Street about 5:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived heavy fire and smoke was coming from the third floor of the building and Act. Deputy Massucci ordered the working fire. The fire was also extending into the second and third floor apartments as well as the cockloft and roof.
As first arriving firefighters started attacking the fire, many other residents were still being removed from the building by police and firefighters. One police officer, David Delaney, is being credited with saving two young boys who were playing video game inside the home and had no idea there was a fire raging.
Due to the deteriorating fire conditions and exposure to adjacent buildings, as well as the inability to efficiently utilize ladder company ariels due to overhead power lines, Deputy Massucci quickly struck a Second, Third and Fourth Alarm bringing help from Boston, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Saugus, Somerville and Winthrop.
Several firefighters were injured fighting the fire and were transported to the hospital. Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone arrived on scene and located shelter for 16 residents that were displaced by the fire.
The fire cause was determined to be accidental due to improper disposal of smoking materials on the 3rd floor porch. This fire also highlights a common fire hazard in the City. Fires on porches spread quickly due to the open wood frame construction and heavy fire loads. This combined with outside air and wind cause rapid auto-exposure from floor to floor and structure to structure.
“Building owners and tenants are reminded to keep their porches free from debris,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “There should be no storage, and no furniture that is meant for the interior of dwellings used on porches. Also, the fire department has restricted the use of gas grills on porches. Grills should only be used at ground level away from the structure.”
Cataldo EMS and President Paul Boudreau of Boston Sparks Association, along with several club members, were also on scene providing refreshments and ReHab for firefighters.
Captain Richard Perisie and the State Fire Marshalls office are investigating the cause of the fire.
“This once again was strong work by Chelsea Fire,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “They made an aggressive attack with limited manpower upon arrival, and made a great stop, keeping this fire contained to the structure without spreading to nearby exposures.”