Wednesday January 23, 2013
Location: 75 Mason Rd., Dudley
Particulars: Last Wednesday evening, while most folks were hunkered down in the warmth of their homes to escape the absolutely arctic conditions outside, Dudley firefighters were battling fire and ice as they were called into action to fight a house fire on Mason Road.
Shortly after 6 PM, Dudley firefighters were requested to respond to 75 Mason Road. The occupants of the residence were reporting a fire in the basement of the home. First due Dudley firefighters arrived on the scene to find heavy smoke enveloping the neighborhood, and a couple of the occupants anxiously awaiting the fire department. All of the home’s occupants escaped unharmed.
Firefighters had to stretch a hoseline almost entirely around the large ranch-style house to access an entry way into the cellar. The fire could be seen through the basement windows rolling across the ceiling of the entire cellar area. The initial interior attack team of Capt. David Konieczny, Lt. Christopher Wilson, and FF Nick Rivera pushed their hoseline into the roaring inferno, killing the fire as they moved deeper into the cellar. While this was being accomplished, another crew of Dudley firefighters, Erik Spahl and Scott Benoit, forced entry into the first floor of the residence and stretched another hoseline to attack the fire if it had extended up to that floor of the building.
Dudley Lt. George Patrinos, the Incident Commander, eventually struck three alarms which brought in additional resources from the neighboring Webster, Oxford, and Southbridge fire departments. The fire in the basement was quickly knocked down, but not before it spread to one closet on the first floor. That fire was also quickly extinguished. Extensive overhaul, the ripping open of walls and ceilings for the purpose of looking for hidden fire, was needed throughout the structure. There were no injuries reported.
Firefighters also had to battle the elements, as the mercury dropped to a bone-chilling 7 degrees Fahrenheit at the height of the fire. Luckily, no frozen hydrants were encountered, but water that spilled onto the ground from engines and hoselines froze almost immediately, causing the area to become an ice skating rink. Wet firefighters could be seen around the house constantly moving and trying to keep warm. There were many remarks made about frozen fingers and toes!
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but fire officials state it does appear to be accidental at this time. The fire is under investigation by Dudley Fire Capt. David Konieczny and Trooper Sean Sullivan of the State Fire Marshals Office. A damage estimate was not available.
The Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department and Webster EMS covered the Dudley fire station while firefighters operated at the scene. The Providence Fire Canteen Unit also responded to help rehab frozen firefighters at the scene. They offered hot beverages, power bars, and more to more than grateful jakes.