Mayor, Council Praise Firefighting Efforts; Redevelopment Possible

Dark black smoke billowing from the Stevens Street building was visible from nearly all areas of the city.

Dark black smoke billowing from the Stevens Street building was visible from nearly all areas of the city.

Haverhill city leaders offered thanks Tuesday night to Haverhill and other regional fire departments for efforts containing a multiple-alarm blaze at a Stevens Street mill building Sunday night and into Monday.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini and others, including interim Fire Chief John Parow and Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro spoke during a suspension of the rules at Tuesday’s city council meeting. A common message was of coordinated efforts to prevent the fire at the former Hudson Machinery Company site, 14-30 Stevens St., from spreading further and avert a potential environmental hazard. Fiorentini told councilors a firefighting technique he called “a wall of water” saved the adjacent former Stevens Mill building to the extent of future redevelopment potential.

Redevelopment Remains a Possibility

“That building was attached to the building that went up on fire. I looked at it and said there’s no way they can save this building, but they did. They put up a wall of water. They did an outstanding job and saved that mill building to the point where a developer is still, at least preliminarily, interested in developing it. Long way to completion, no promises, but still interested,” Fiorentini said.

DeNaro, also Haverhill’s public safety commissioner, said the response and effort, from an emergency management standpoint, was “better than any tabletop exercise we could have ever done.”

“While the fire was still going on, I contacted the chief and we had the EPA come in and they took air samples and water samples because obviously we were concerned about runoff into Little River, ultimately into the Merrimack and we passed with flying colors in both areas. So, we’re very fortunate in that we didn’t have to call in Cl;ean Harbors, booey the place off or do anything else. It was, all in all, it worked out perfect and again nobody got hurt. That’s a homerun in my book.” DeNaro said.

Council President John A. Michitson said the fire response “really made the city look great” from outside the city.

“Today, I was able to say we did a bang up job. Nobody got killed and they contained the fire,” Michitson said.

Fiorentini added he would be visiting Haverhill fire stations Wednesday to personally thank crew members who were at the fire scene. A total 19 fire departments in Essex, Middlesex and Rockingham counties provided fire coverage in Haverhill during and after the height of the blaze. No one was injured. The cause remains under investigation.

In other matters, no discussion was raised as action on a so-called “compromise” paid parking ordinance proposal and add a city councilor to the Central Business District Parking Commission was postponed two weeks by a vote of 8 to 0. Councilor William J. Macek was absent. Fiorentini requested the delay as “several councilors have requested changes to the proposed ordinance” from the council’s Administration and Finance committee.

6 thoughts on “Mayor, Council Praise Firefighting Efforts; Redevelopment Possible

  1. Oh, yes, the Mayor often praises and thanks teachers, police officers, city admin, and DPW, as well as others in addition to the firefighters who performed so well on Stevens street. But Jack seems to find dark storm clouds in every ray of sunshine. Sad.

  2. Leave it to the corrupt mayor to politicize this fire!!
    Of all the hard working city employees it’s this group of workers who he chooses to single out for simply doing their job? When was the last time he praised teachers who have to deal with out of control students literally every day? When was the last time he praised or thanked city administrative staffers who now do the work of two or three jobs because of personnel cutbacks? Did he say anything publicly last winter after what DPW workers had to deal with? When has he said anything about city cops who EVERY day go to work and have to deal with an increased gang population and an out of control drug problem in the city? And to think it is this group of employees who committed scam after scam in recently years, literally conspiring to commit felony theft of taxpayer funds which the mayor did nothing about, and he chooses to single them out for a job well done.
    Is it any wonder moral among those working for the city is so low?

  3. What ever happened to the Haverhill fire fighter that had a manic episode a couple of years ago and beat up his daughter’s boyfriend with a tiki torch? Remember that? When they arrested him the police found he had a house full of assault style weapons. No doubt the mayor did nothing about protecting the safety of citizens from a nut like that……..