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03/22/2017 7th Alarm Rockland MA

03/22/2017 - ROCKLAND, MASSACHUSETTS (PLYMOUTH COUNTY) - Around 0444 hours on the morning of Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 the Rockland Fire Department received a call for a building fire at 76 Park Street, a vacant warehouse. Companies arrived to the scene two minutes later and reported a fully involved building. A second alarm was immediately stuck by Captain Thomas Heaney, followed quickly by a third alarm struck by Captain John Sammon. Crews reported a two story, two hundred foot by seventy five foot vacant warehouse going throughout. Captain Heaney reported that he had large embers falling in the street, and on area residences. Two exposure residences were smoking upon his arrival. He reported during a press briefing, "It was the most impressive thing that I've ever seen." Deck guns, big hand lines, and Blitz guns were immediately put into operation attempting to knock down the large volume of fire, and protect the exposures. Hydrants were utilized on each street surrounding the fire building. Incoming apparatus were instructed to lay in, and protect exposures on the Webster Street side of the building, as they were very close to the fire building. Rockland Police mobilized quickly, and were able to evacuate upwards of twenty residences that were in danger of catching fire. Captain Heaney reported that the wind direction was helpful because if the wind had been facing the Webster Street residences, they would have had major exposure problems with upwards of ten residences, a church and a nursing home. Many houses on Webster Street suffered minor heat damage to siding. Some of the Webster Street residences' out buildings, garages and sheds did catch fire during the blaze. Residents were not allowed back into their homes for some time, due to the concern of toxic smoke in their homes. Firefighters and hazardous materials technicians cleared residences with meters before residents would be allowed to return. Numerous special calls went in through Plymouth County Control during the fire, ultimately bringing the fire to a seventh alarm. A Tier-1 Hazardous Materials Response was also requested due to air quality issues in the area. State resources on-scene included the Incident Support Unit, Rehab Unit, and the Hazardous Materials Team. The Whitman CERT Rehab unit also responded to the scene. At a 0700 hours press conference, Chief Scott Duffey reported that eleven engine companies, three ladder companies, and three ambulances were on-scene working. Two engine companies and one ladder company was in staging, while additional companies covered firehouses around the South Shore, back filling for station coverage. The Town of Rockland delayed all schools by two hours due to the fire. National Grid shut off the power to all buildings within a one block radius of the fire, as power lines had burned off of buildings during the fire. Chief Scott Duffey reported that the building has been vacant for approximately six or seven years and the department has been working with the building owner regarding the property, which was posted as for sale. The building was also marked with several red "X" markings, meaning no interior firefighting due to unsafe conditions in the building. All utilities had been shut off to the building for some time before the fire. The Massachusetts State Fire Marshal's office had investigators on the scene interviewing witnesses and area residents regarding the blaze. In a press release, the Fire Marshal's Office was requesting any early video and accounts of the fire so that they could help better understand where the fire may have originated in the building, and then, what possibly caused the fire. Any early video or other information regarding the fire can be directed to the Rockland Police Department at 781-871-3890, or the State Fire Marshal's Fire Investigation Unit at 800-682-9229. Companies remained on-scene throughout the majority of the day continuing to extinguish the fire and knock down hidden pockets o
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