By Seth Daniel
When the beginnings of a 10-alarm fire erupted quite suddenly in East Cambridge on Saturday afternoon, firefighters in Everett, Revere and Chelsea knew that their services would likely be needed sooner rather than later.
Chelsea Fire responded about the same time as Everett, taking its specialized Tower 1 and Engine 2.
Chelsea Fire Chief Len Albanese said his crews responded to the fire early and didn’t return until 3 a.m.
“They were involved in operations in the fire area for 12 hours or so,” he said. “There isn’t a huge number of Tower ladders in the area. Chelsea having a Tower ladder is a specialty piece of equipment, so it is often needed. We felt like our Chelsea guys did great work over there.”
Everett Chief Anthony Carli said that Everett’s Engine 1 and Ladder 1 were both called into service as part of the existing mutual aid agreement. They were called to respond at the 7th alarm, he said.
He said Everett firefighters, like the surrounding cities, were on scene about 30 minutes after the first dispatch and were in the thick of things right away.
Engine 1 returned around 9:30 p.m. from the fire, and Ladder 1 came back home at 1 a.m.
Anecdotal reports indicated that Everett jakes were stationed to the church that went up in flames, which was recently converted to affordable housing.
Revere Fire Chief Chris Bright said their Engine 4 responded to the fire early and returned around 1 a.m.
He said their Ladder 2 apparatus responded to cover the Harvard Square Fire Station. Once there, they had several responses he said, including two smaller, unrelated fires.
Bright said he felt the fire happened at the best time possible for such a thing, as it was in the daytime and that made it easier to evacuate people.
“Between Chelsea and Everett, Revere and all our neighbors, with our mutual aid agreements, we can be called up to duty anywhere,” he said.
He said Revere’s jakes were also right in the middle of the fire with the Everett crews.
“They were right in the thick of it and did a lot of work by the original fire building and the church too,” he said. “They rolled up and grabbed a hydrant. They were there up on a lift and it was already quite a fire.”
Bright also said Cambridge Fire did an admirable job in responding and coordinating the original efforts.
“They did a really nice job and they have a good department,” he said. “They did a good job realizing they didn’t have a handle on it and setting up a perimeter and being able to ensure there was enough water pressure on it. They really did a good job getting out in front of it. I’m glad we could all help them when they needed it.”
As an aside, Bright said on Saturday, he had a brand new firefighter who was on Engine 1, which could have been called to the fire instead of Revere’s Engine 4.
“Had they been called, it would have been his very first call on his very first day as a firefighter,” said Bright.