Haverhill Firefighter Becomes ill After Two Nights of Mutual Aid in West Newbury and Merrimac

West Newbury firefighters supported by their mutual aid partners battled a four-alarm fire on Brown Lane. (Photograph courtesy of Michael J. Kent.)

A Haverhill firefighter became ill and was sent to a hospital while on a mutual aid call to help battle a four-alarm house fire early Saturday night in West Newbury.

Haverhill Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien said the unidentified firefighter, who was also working during a three-alarm fire overnight in Merrimac, was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and later released

“A ladder crew was operating on the roof cutting a vent hole, aggressively working, and one of the members just wasn’t feeling right. Fortunately, he came down and was seen by the medics on scene and transported to the hospital,” O’Brien said.

West Newbury Fire Chief Michael Dwyer said firefighters were dispatched at 6:47 p.m. to 17 Brown Lane for a report of a fire at a garage attached to a house. First arriving crews found heavy fire, called a second and then a third alarm response due to the intensity of the fire, but also because of the need for additional tankers to provide water for firefighting efforts. He said fourth alarm was later called for additional support.

“Water availability in the area created extreme challenges in battling the fire. A water supply command was established to manage the incoming mutual aid tankers and ensure that sufficient water was available to firefighters,” a statement said.

Besides Haverhill, mutual aid came from Boxford; East Kingston, N.H.; Essex; Georgetown; Groveland; Hampton Falls, N.H.; Merrimac; Newbury; Newburyport; Rye, N.H.; and Salisbury. The Seacoast Fire Chiefs Mutual Aid District responded with a regional air trailer and a tanker. Fire department tankers responded from eight Massachusetts and New Hampshire communities. The Boxford, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, and Rowley Fire Departments also provided station coverage.

The Merrimac Fire Department was dispatched Saturday at 1:15 a.m., upon receiving a 911 call reporting a house fire at a two-story, wood-frame single-family home at 10 High St. A second alarm was struck at 1:34 a.m., followed by a third at 2:17 a.m. for additional mutual aid relief and support. An Amesbury firefighter was taken to the hospital as a precaution during that fire.

Haverhill’s O’Brien said his department performed similar tasks during both fires. “Friday night, we were there working. Our ladder crews cut holes, ventilation holes, that night also. So, we were busy with mutual aid this weekend,” he said.

Merrimac Fire Chief Larry S. Fisher said the fire’s cause is being investigated by the Merrimac Fire Department, State Fire Marshal’s office and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Fire Marshal.

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