Date: Friday January 6, 2012
Location: 10 Intervale Road, Dudley
Particulars: Shortly after 7 AM on Friday January 6th, Dudley Fire Alarm received several calls from residents on Intervale Road in West Dudley reporting a fire in a barn. The Dispatcher on duty immediately alerted Dudley firefighters, and all available Dudley jakes were instructed to respond to the location. Intervale Road is located in West Dudley in the area of Dudley Paper Mill Road and West Dudley Road, near the Southbridge town line. In the past, the location had been accessible from both roads, but a bridge on Dudley Paper Mill Road has been closed for several years because it is unsafe for traffic to pass over it. The result is a longer response time for Dudley’s emergency vehicles and personnel.
When the first firefighters arrived, they found a large three-stall wood and metal pole barn, approximately 40’ x 60’, with heavy smoke showing from the ridge vent which ran the entire length of the massive roof. A handline was immediately stretched, and Dudley firefighters prepared to enter the burning structure to extinguish the flames. But, as the building was opened up, a mechanical problem with Dudley’s Engine 1 prevented the hoseline from being filled with water. As firefighters frantically tried to fix the mechanical problem with the pump, the fire gained considerable headway. A second Dudley engine arrived on scene a few minutes later, but the fire had grown exponentially in those few short minutes and had spread throughout the barn. The fire quickly ate away at the roof’s truss rafters, and the roof began to collapse into the interior of the building. No firefighters were allowed inside the barn during the firefight due to the risk of structural collapse.
An additional problem that hampered firefighters was the lack of a substantial water source in the area. The neighborhood is far removed from Dudley’s municipal water system and hydrants. Water had to be carried to the scene by the responding fire apparatus. Shortly after arriving on scene, the incident commander, Dudley Fire Captain David Konieczny, recognized he had a very limited water supply. He also noticed a frozen pond located a short distance from the fire scene. Capt. Konieczny immediately called mutual aid assistance from the Quinebaug (CT) Volunteer FD and the Community Fire Company (also CT) to respond to the scene to draft water from that pond and relay it to the fire scene. The neighboring Southbridge FD was also called in to assist Dudley jakes fighting the fire. A crew from the Webster FD covered the empty Dudley firehouse.
Firefighters never lost water during the firefighting operation, with the exception of the mechanical failure of the first engine as firefighters arrived on scene. Unfortunately, in these crucial few minutes, the fire’s intensity grew beyond the capabilities of the fire department to extinguish the fire before it involved the entire structure. The barn and most of its contents was a total loss.
The fire was investigated by Captain Konieczny and Trooper Greg Spahl of the State Fire Marshals Office. The fire remains under investigation, but does not appear to be of suspicious origins.
- Friday, 06 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News