Haverhill Chief Credits Enlarged Crew to Fast Knock Down of Two-Alarm Triple Decker Fire

Haverhill Fire Department battles blaze at three-family home at 97-99 Blaisdell St. (Courtesy photograph.)

Two Haverhill families were displaced after what became a two-alarm fire broke out early this morning, but was brought quickly under control.

Haverhill Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien credited the initial response from the enlarged four-man crew coming out of the High Street station. Engine 1 was dispatched after a 911 emergency came in around 12:30 a.m. for a three-family home at 97-99 Blaisdell St.

“I’m appreciative of the fact that that particular truck out of High Street—being the busiest fire house—has a four-man complement to it. It’s very important in this case, as was in previous fires to have that extra body initially, because of the initial operations are so important before the rest of the fire trucks make it to the fire scene,” the chief said.

The availability of a fourth firefighter, the chief explained, made it possible to take a second hose and hit the fire again from outside, while the first crew battled from inside.

“The combination of the two allowed us to extinguish the fire as quick as we did. We got a quick hold on it,” he said.

O’Brien told WHAV the High Street crew arrived within three minutes to find “heavy flames” coming from the third floor, front right of the building. Rescue 1 and Engine 3 out of Water Street were the next to arrive, followed by Engines 2 and 4.

Deputy Fire Chief Raymond E. Robinson Jr., arriving simultaneously with Engine 1, called for a second alarm, bringing in mutual aid station coverage. Initial reports that there might be someone still in a second-floor apartment helped trigger the alarm, but firefighters found the family was not home. A first-floor unit was under renovation and not occupied.

Fire damage was contained to a portion of the third-floor apartment and smoke and water damage on the lower floors. The chief said some of Haverhill’s newest recruits received their first on-the-job lessons.

A preliminary investigation suggests the accidental, improper use of electrical equipment may be to blame for the fire starting. A final review is being conducted by the Haverhill Fire Department and the state Fire Marshal’s office.

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