Haverhill Fire Chief Credits Newly Expanded Four-Firefighter Crew For Saving Grove Street Home

The scene at 163-165 Grove St., Haverhill. (Photograph courtesy of Gary Huber, Essex Alert.)

A house fire late Monday afternoon would likely have caused more damage if not for the recently expanded, four-person crew dispatched from Haverhill’s High Street fire station.

The fire, reported at 5:19 p.m., at a two-family home at 163-165 Grove St., displaced 10 residents who escaped safely. Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien, however, said the second-floor blaze was brought under control relatively quickly thanks to the recent addition of a fourth firefighter on the crew of Engine 1.

“If we didn’t have the fourth man, the interior attack would have been delayed because the two men that were there would have attacked the fire initially from the outside to knock it down and then worked their way in. In this case, the delay was removed because we had the extra man and we had two operations going on at once,” he said. Previously, he explained, one firefighter first organizes the pump, leaving an officer and a two-man crew.

O’Brien, who described the scene as a “raging fire,” said residents commented they expected to find more damage once the fire was out.

“They really brought that fire under control very quickly especially for the amount of fire that they faced. That’s evident just by the heavy burn that you can see in the building itself,” the chief said.

O’Brien said he hopes to also expand the Water Street station to four-man trucks. “When these guys jump off—whether it be a car accident, whether it be a fire—it’s so important. It’s so important…Those are very busy trucks and it’s huge.”

The chief said the cause of the fire was deemed accidental and electrical in nature. Firefighters observed power cords in the area where the fire began.

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