The Chelsea Fire Department has begun a major renovation project for the Chelsea Firefighters Memorial that is situated outside the local fire alarm headquarters.
Chelsea Fire Capt. Michael Thompson points to the stone plate marking the original opening date of the memorial. The firefighters have launched a renovation project to restore the site.
Fire Captain Michael Thompson said the
memorial was first erected in 1972 and there has been no refurbishing at the
site since that time.
“Our goal is to revamp the entire site,”
said Thompson, a 32-year veteran of the department. “We will erect granite
walls with the names of our deceased firefighters.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino met with Deputy
Chief Michael Masucci to discuss the project. Ambrosino gave the official
go-ahead for the project.
Seeking to raise monies to defray the cost
of the project, the firefighters will hold a “Chili Selloff” fundraiser this
Saturday, April 6 at the Mystic Brewery, Chelsea.
“Bryan Greenhagan (owner of the brewery) has
graciously invited us to sell chili from 1 to 9 p.m. on that day, with the
proceeds going to the rebuilding of the memorial,” said Thompson.
Chris Flahive and his team of chefs from the
Chelsea Yacht Club will team up with the firefighters to cook up 40 gallons of
chili for the event.
April 13 at the New Brown Jug, owner Michael Matrinko will host a fundraiser
during which 20 percent of all food sales will go the firefighters memorial
fund. There will be a raffle drawing for a $10,000 cash prize.
Every year on the first Sunday of June, the
firefighters hold ceremonies at the site. Thompson is hopeful that the project
will be completed by that date.
“I’m very excited to see this come to
fruition,” said Thompson. “With the help of the citizens of Chelsea, we’re
going to meet our goal and get it done.”
the project can be sent to the Chelsea Firefighters Memorial Fund, P.O. 505616,
Chelsea, MA 02150).
The City released the 2018 payroll figures
for the City of Chelsea this week. The top earner was once again Chief Brian
Kyes at $230,344, as per his recent contract. For the police earners, much of
the gross salary listed also include detail pay, the vast majority of which
does not come from City funds. Of the Top 10 highest paid, eight were from the
Police or Fire Departments. City Manager Tom Ambrosino checked in at number 10,
NAME TITLE EARNINGS
Brian Kyes Chief
of Police $230,344.33
Joseph Fern Sergeant $211,872.46
Thomas Dunn Captain
Police Dept. $205,872.85
Waynen Ulwick Deputy Chief $203,288.67
Keith Houghton Captain Police Dept. $197,453.50
David Batchelor Captain Police Dept. $194678.46
John Quatieri Deputy Chief $183,497.21
Mary Bourque Superintendent
Robert Houghton Deputy Chief $182,019.22
Thomas Ambrosino City Mgr. $180,441.72
Hector Gonzalez Sergeant $176,440.18
Michael Thompson Captain Fire Dept. $166,379.54
Michael Masucci Deputy Chief $166,189.31
Paul Giancola Deputy Chief $166,978.20
Edwin Nelson Lt.
Police Dept. $164,488.50
Michael Addonizio Sergeant $162.911.18
Edward McGarry Deputy Chief $161,706.80
David Flibotte Sergeant $160,531.80
Rony Gobin Capt.
Fire Dept. $158,983.82
John Noftle Sergeant $156,654.04
Robert Denning Capt. Fire Dept. $156,582.07
Leonard Albanese Fire Chief $156,436.80
Paul Doherty Capt.
Fire Dept. $156,210.97
William Dana Capt.
Police Dept. $155,886.74
Daniel Delaney Lt. Police Dept. $153,015.37
William Briquela Sergeant $151,980.26
Stephen Purcell Capt. Fire Dept. $151,220.30
Michael Gurska Capt. Fire Dept. $150,926.52
David Betz Lt.
Police Dept. $149,452.67
Scott Conley Patrolman $148,971.14
William Krasco Patrolman $148,129.25
Thomas McLain Patrolman $147,994.81
Brian Dunn Lt.
Police Dept. $146,432.04
Richard Wilcox Lt. Fire Dept. $146,159.30
Lyle Abell Patrolman $145,456.77
Robert Moschella Patrolman $144,743.05
Linda Breau Dep/Asst.
Anthony D’Alba Sergeant $143,491.93
Richard Carroccino Capt. Fire Dept. $142,271.06
Robert Cameron Deputy Chief $141,745.95
Priti Johari Asst.
Super 225 $141,549.97
Philip Rogers Capt. Fire Dept. $141,486.55
Nicole McLaughlin Patrolman $138,758.46
Gerald McCue Director
Jacqueline Maloney Principal 220 $138,370.05
Michael Lee Capt.
Fire Dept. $137,816.45
David Rizzuto Lt. Police Dept. $135,789.24
Edward Keefe Deputy
City Mgr. $134,355.42
Richard Perisie Deputy Chief $133,742.54
Jon Maldonado Patrolman $133,573.84
Angelica Guerra Patrolman $133,489.66
Adele Lubarsky Principal 220 $133,299.92
Philip Merritt Capt. Fire Dept. $133,167.89
Sarah Kent Asst.
Super 220 $132,598.96
Randy Grajal Teacher $132,365.77
Anthony Tiro Lt. Fire Dept. $129,619.11
Cindy Rosenberg Director/SPED $129,238.46
John Bower Lt.
Police Dept. $129,087.69
Michael Villanueva Patrolman $128,705.88
Michael Nee Sergeant $128,519.44
Ronald Schmidt Principal 220 $128,419.34
Stephen Garcia Patrolman $128,106.06
Joseph Capistran Patrolman $128,032.49
Garrison Daniel Patrolman $127,915.71
Linda Barber Asst.
Gary Poulin Firefighter $127,245.49
Sylvia Vazquez Teacher $126,762.71
Joseph Stutto Patrolman $126,042.52
Mark Martineau Asst. Principal $125,942.86
David Bishop Lt.
Fire Dept. $125,542.09
Michelle Martinello Principal 220 $125,500.04
Christian Lehmann Lt. Fire Dept. $125,163.61
Jose Torres Firefighter $124,622.98
Joanne O’Brien Patrolman $124,618.74
Michael Noone Patrolman $124,616.70
Richard Bellomo Patrolman $124,592.28
Michael Talbot Principal 200 $123,749.98
Mark Aliberti Lt. Fire Dept. $123,739.98
Augustus Casucci Patrolman $123,288.79
Cheryl Fisher City Solicitor $122,859.54
Adam Deleidi Principal
McCarthy Patrolman $121,779.06
Paul Marchese Patrolman $121,317.29
Star Chung Patrolman $121,169.07
Joseph Cooney Dir. Of Blgds/Grounds $121,153.88
Julie Shea Principal
Nathaniel Meyers Principal 220 $120,500.05
Christopher Troisi Patrolman $120,363.74
Daniel Dejordy Lt. Fire Dept. $120,334.37
Long Lam Patrolman $118,106.45
Carlos Vega Patrolman $117,787.32
Joan Sullivan Director Exempt $117,584.55
Bertram Taverna Dir. Of Public Works $117,344.83
Juan Sanchez Patrolman $117,235.48
Alan Beausoleil Coordinator $116,774.31
John Coen Sergeant $116,114.05
David Batchelor Patrolman $116,023.49
Robert Brown Capt.
Fire Dept. $115,978.37
Damon Peykar Coordinator $115,667.73
A Winchester developer has filed with the
Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to build a five-story, 33-unit residential
apartment building on the site of the closed 7-11 and its parking lot in Cary
Anthony Quiles has filed the project with
the City and had an initial hearing on Tuesday night, Jan. 8, with the ZBA, and
will proceed to the Planning Board for a meeting later this month.
The project will be sited at 176-178
Washington Ave. and will contain 44 parking spaces (50 are required) for the 33
units. There will be a roof deck and other amenities. The project includes no
open space and requires seven pieces of relief, including height variances and
The unit breakdown would be nine studios, 15
one-bedrooms, and six two-bedrooms.
The Chelsea Fire Department has already
voiced its concerns with the project as they do not believe they can access the
building due to the size of the building on the lot.
“I am not in favor of a development of this
size…which encompasses the entire lot with no setbacks on both sides and the
rear,” wrote Deputy Richard Perisie. “The Fire Department should have access to
at least one side for apparatus placement.”
Councillor Leo Robinson said he has called
for the development to go down to at least 25 units and to add a retail venture
on the first floor, preferably a grocery store/convenience store.
He said he was very disturbed that the
purchase and sales agreement by 7-11 with Quiles details that no such retail
operations can go there. He said he wants to see about changing that.
“My concern and
what bothers me is that 7-11 put in the agreement not to allow a grocery store
to go there,” he said. “That is detrimental to that part of the city. It is
heavily used by the elderly at 14 Bloomingdale and the people from the
neighborhood too. The fact of the matter is I’ve talked with the City Solicitor
and the City Manager and I think there is a tool in our tool bag we need to
use. I don’t think 7-11 should punish us for their failure not to run a good
business. There has always been a grocery store there since I can remember.”
The guests at the retirement celebration for popular Chelsea Public Schools official Gerry McCue gave him a
Assistant Supt. of Schools Sarah Kent, Human Resources Director Tina Sullivan, Deputy Supt. of Schools Linda Breau, and Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque make a special presentation to their retiring colleague, Gerry Mccue
prolonged standing ovation.
“I’m not done yet,” McCue politely told the crowd.
McCue continued his farewell speech, and when the guests knew he was done, they stood up again and showed their gratitude to a man who truly made a positive impact in Chelsea.
McCue, executive director for administration and finance for the Chelsea Public Schools, was honored at a retirement party June 14 at the Winthrop Yacht Club.
At the request of Supt. of Schools, Dr. Mary Bourque, McCue took a seat in a chair at the front of the hall as colleagues and associates took the podium to laud his 26 years of service in the Chelsea School Department.
Kelley and Lindsey McCue, his two daughters, spoke of how “our father has always led by example and he will be a tough act to follow.”
“Our dad has always been a role model, not only for his family, but for also for his extended family. He has a tremendous work ethic, he’s a compassionate leader, and a true advocate for the community he has worked in. Chelsea has been his home away from home for the past 26 years. Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate Gerry’s next chapter in life which I’m sure will be filled with the same reward and fulfillment he’s had during his career here.”
Bourque said when she asked colleagues across the school district to describe Gerry McCue in one word, “we got, patient, listener, passionate, caring, dedicated, smart – but universally everyone one said, ‘calm.”
Bourque praised McCue’s wit and humor and his ability to remain calm no matter the chaos.
“Gerry, thank you for taking a risk on Chelsea public schools back in 1992 when the city was in receivership and the schools were not doing well,” said Bourque. “But we are a better school system because you have been here and I am a better superintendent because I have had the honor of working with you as an assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, and superintendent.”
In a warm and gracious speech, McCue said how much he enjoyed his work in Chelsea and being part of the Chelsea community at-large. He thanked his colleagues and his family for their support during his career and said the city will always have a special place in heart.
The two standing ovations said it all about the high esteem in which Gerry McCue was held and the valuable contribution he made to the Chelsea schools.
As Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson said afterwards, “This was a great tribute, a wonderful celebration for a true professional.”
On Monday, March 19, at 12:50 p.m., Chelsea Fire and Police responded to the intersection of Broadway and Eleanor Street after being alerted by Fire Capt. Richard Perisie of a motor vehicle accident. Capt. Perisie ordered a Box Alarm assignment that was immediately transmitted by Fire Alarm. Upon arrival fire crews from E3, E2, L2 and T1 under the command of Deputy Paul Giancola immediately began patient assessments and mitigated any hazardous fluid leaks.
Three parties were transported by Cataldo EMS to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Transit Police responded to the scene and took control of the incident.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
MAN FOLLOWS GIRL, ASSAULTS OFFICER
On Wednesday, March 7, at 2:18 p.m., Officers responded to a report of a frightened juvenile who reported that a male on Marlborough Street was following her. Officers observed a man fitting the description and attempting to talk to him. The subject became defensive and began yelling; he was then placed into custody for assaulting an officer.
Robert Daniels, 19, of 73A Marlborough St., was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery and assault and battery on a police officer.
TOOK A NUTTY
On March 8, at 9:45 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of 89 Sixth St. on a report of a motor vehicle collision with unknown injuries. Upon arrival, officers observed a female directing them to two men engaged in a struggle on the ground, one of the men being her husband. The female stated her husband saw the other male causing damage with a knife to their car.
As officers separated the two, the subject assaulted two police officers and kicked an EMT who responded to render aid. The individual also made verbal threats to the victim. He was placed under arrest after a brief struggle.
Walter Perez, 27, of 128 Williams St., was charged with mayhem, assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidating a witness, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel.
JUVENILE ASSULTED WITH BUTANE
On March y, a CPD officer placed a juvenile under arrest for assaulting another youth with a butane lighter during school.
The 17-year-old Chelsea youth was arrested on Guam Road and charged with assault and battery by a dangerous weapon, intimidating a witness, disturbing school and threatening to commit a crime.
On March 9, at 5 p.m., members of the Chelsea Police Drug Unit were on surveillance in the area of 150 Franklin St. when they observed a silver Mercedes pull up about 20 feet in front of their unmarked cruiser. They then watched a drug transaction in front of them and placed both under arrest.
Justin Jensen, 43, of 150 Franklin Ave., was charged with distribution of a Class B drug, conspiracy, and possession of a Class B drug.
James Femino, 61, of Revere, was charged with distribution of a Class B drug and conspiracy.
MS-13 MEMBER GUILTY
A member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique in Chelsea, was sentenced March 12 in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy.
Domingo Tizol, a/k/a “Chapin,” 23, a Guatemalan national who resided in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Tizol will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.
On May 26, 2015, Tizol and another MS-13 member Bryan Galicia-Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky,” attacked a suspected gang rival on Bellingham Street in Chelsea. Tizol punched and hit the victim while Barillas stabbed the victim multiple times. The victim survived the attack but suffered life-threatening injuries.
Tizol and Barillas were two of 61 defendants indicted in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. Barillas previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Joser Valentin, 49, 63 Highland Ave., Malden was arrested on a warrant.
Robert Daniels, 19, 73A Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and assault and battery.
Andrew Babigumira, 32, 62 Garden Circle, Waltham, was arrested for trespassing.
Walter Perez, 27, 128 Williams St., Chelsea, was arrested for malicious damage to motor vehicle, assault and battery, mayhem, assault and battery on a police officer, assault and batter with a dangerous weapon, witness intimidation and assault and battery on a ambulance personnel.
Juvenile offender, 17, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, witness intimidation, school disturbance and threat to commit crime.
Michael Bernard, 39, 15 Spencer Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Gilberto Vasquez, 48, 855 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for operation of motor vehicle with suspended license.
Justin Jensen, 43, 150 Franklin Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class B drug, conspiracy to violate drug law and possessing Class B drug.
James Femino, 61, 371 Northshore Rd., Revere, was arrested for possessing Class B drug and conspiracy to violate drug law.
David Panameno, 42, 227 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the Influence of liquor.
Shawn Hilaire, 27, 307 Broadway, Fall River, MA, was arrested on a warrant.
Kyle Rego, 26, 186 Valentine St., Fall River, MA 02720 was arrested on a warrant.
Mario Galindo, 36, 94 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the Influence of Liquor, and operation of motor vehicle unlicensed.
Josmar Falcao-Ferreira, 57, 90 Bacon St., Waltham, was arrested for operation of motor vehicle unlicensed, stop sign violation and warrant.
Juvenile offender, 17, Revere, was arrested for shoplifting.
Yunis Aden, 24, 9 Guam Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for shoplifting, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and dangerous weapon.
The City has been ordered by an arbiter to pay overtime that was in dispute from not backfilling a position last year with overtime pay.
The arbiter ruled on Oct. 9 that Chelsea had violated the collective bargaining agreement by not backfilling the position – mostly in 2016 – to avoid having to pay overtime. The open position was created when the City, by contract, created a new deputy chief position, leaving the Safety and Training Deputy Chief position open.
The dispute was whether or not that position had to be filled with overtime when appropriate. The City said it didn’t, and the union believed it did.
“It is undisputed that Chief Albanese was faced with an unexpectedly large overtime bill for the first quarter of his first fiscal year as Chief,” read the decision. “Contractual considerations, however, constrained his response. I am not persuaded that the unilateral rescission of (regulations) was an appropriate exercise of management rights, pursuant to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement. Instead, I determine that the parties’ present practice was consistent with a specific agreement the Union reached with respect to command staff changes; namely, that a new Deputy Chief position would be created, and that the Safety and Training Deputy Chief position would be backfilled, on a day to day basis, for certain absences.”
The arbiter ordered that the City repay the overtime to those that were affected.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the award would amount to about $30,000.
“I am further persuaded that, by operation of (the law), the Chief was obligated to meet and discuss overtime overrun concerns with the Union,” it read. “As a result, I conclude that by unilaterally rescinding (the regulation), the City violated the collective bargaining agreement. As remedy, I determine that the effected Deputy Chiefs should be made whole for their loss of overtime opportunities.”
Ambrosino said he is considering filing an appeal, but the ability to overturn an arbiter is not likely.
“We think the arbiter completely missed the boat and didn’t interpret the contract correctly,” he said. “However, it’s hard to overturn an arbiter’s ruling.”
The Chelsea Fire Union was not able to comment as its president, Anthony Salvucci, has stepped down from his position – according to other members.
Former President Brian Capistran said he is a candidate for president of the union, and that an election was to be held this week.
On Saturday July 2nd at 2:10 pm Chelsea Fire Fighters responded to Box 236 located at the Elderly Housing Development at Sixth and Walnut Streets.
Upon arrival crews from E2 and T1 under the command of Deputy John Quatieri reported a heavy smoke condition on floor 2 but were hampered in locating the source of the fire. After forcing entry to several apartments crews located a kitchen fire and advanced a 1 ¾ attack line to attack the fire. As smoke poured through the building several residents began to appear at their windows to escape the heavy smoke before a primary search could be conducted. Deputy Quatieri immediately ordered the Working Fire and crews from E1 and L2 were directed to the first and second floors to conduct a primary and secondary search and evacuate trapped residents while E3 stood by as the Rapid Intervention Company.
At the height of the fire FF Robert Delaney of E1 conducting a search for occupants rescued a Chiahuahua from a smoke filled second floor apartment. A resident that was also rescued by Fire Fighters and suffering from smoke inhalation refused medical treatment.
The fire which was confined to a kitchen on the second floor of 38 Sixth Street was brought under control in about 20 minutes and tenants were allowed to re-enter their apartments.
Chelsea Housing responded to the scene to clean up the affected areas.
Chelsea Fire Prevention is investigating the cause of the fire.
Chelsea Firefighters responded to a fire at the Elderly Housing Development at Sixth and Walnut Streets.
The Top 100 salaries of public employees from 2015 in Chelsea was released last week by the Law Department, and one employee was over $200,000 and all of the Top 100 made in excess of $100,000.
The payroll for the Top 100 featured 44 firefighters, 38 police officers, 16 School Department employees and two City Hall employees.
The City Manager did not appear on the list of the Top 100 as he only worked half of the year. In 2016, his name and salary are likely to crack the Top 100.
At the top of the list was Chief Brian Kyes, who came in at $229,143.
That, however, does include detail work that Kyes is allowed to perform. That is also the case for many of the police and firefighter salaries, as they perform detail assignments that are not funded by the City in most cases.
Kyes said his salary is contractual and contains the extra money due to the fact that he is a licensed attorney. Prior to become the chief, he had a law practice on the side. As a chief, he would have been allowed to continue that law practice for 16 hours per week. Instead, he opted to be allowed to perform detail work for 16 hours a week so he could do that work in the City of Chelsea – giving him more hours on the ground in the City.
Chiefs in eastern Massachusetts don’t typically work details. However, that practice was approved for former Chief Frank Garvin and Kyes continued doing details in lieu of his law practice.
“Rather than do my outside work outside the City, I chose to do it here by working details,” he said. “I don’t take details from anyone else. I’m last on the list. When no one wants it, I take it.”
Kyes said his actual salary minus details falls in the middle of the pack for Massachusetts police chiefs.
“There are chiefs that make as low as $165,000 and as high as $210,000,” he said. “My salary is comparable and I’m right in the middle.”
As a comparison, the Revere Chief of Police made $213,664 in 2015, and that did not include details.
The most employees in the Top 100 came from the Fire Department, which had 44 members on the list. That, however, was an anomaly for this year as there was $1 million in state money infused into the Fire Department from the state as part of the Silver Line project.
“There is no doubt that the increase in salaries, as it relates to the fire department, resulted from the hiring and oversight of the additional engine company placed in service to accommodate the closing of the Washington Ave Bridge, which was closed to emergency vehicles as part of the Silver Line project,” said Brian Capistran, president of the Firefighter’s Union.
“The decision to put this additional public safety equipment in service was made as a result of a fire safety analysis which was completed by Deputy Chief John Quatieri, along with other senior staff…The City successfully negotiated with MASSDOT to fund the cost of this additional engine company which was estimated at $1 million. No City tax dollars were used to fund the additional engine company (Engine 4), to supplement what we already know to be an understaffed Fire Department.”
Capistran cited that overtime due to what the Fire Union believes is understaffing, and fire details, were other reasons that firefighter salaries were high.
Chelsea Firefighters were kept quite busy over the weekend responding to two serious fires that broke out at two high-rise developments on Admirals Hill, including one at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL).
The first fire, which occurred Friday morning, April 8, almost turned tragic when ,according to reports circulating local media outlets, 96-year-old Charles Lanzillo (a former Chelsea Record employee) became trapped inside his third floor apartment after materials being used to renovate the apartment caused a sudden explosion and fire.
He was rescued by his daughter, former Chelsea Director of Public Buildings Joan Lanzillo, who happened to be visiting him at the time of the fire.
Firefighters responded to Box 915 at the Chelsea Village Apartments at 5 Admirals Way after receiving an alarm activation and a telephone report of a fire on the third floor. Chelsea E3 under the command of Acting Lt. Purcell was in the immediate area and first to arrive.
Upon arrival they reported a heavy smoke condition and fire that was contained to one apartment on the third floor and requested the next due Engine Company to fill the standpipe systems so they could charge an attack line on the fire.
After arriving on scene, Deputy Chief Ulwick assumed command and immediately ordered the working fire. Crews from T1 and L2 assisted E3 in quickly knocking down the main body of fire while crews from E1 and Everett E2 and L1 who were specially called to the fire to assist with search/rescue and evacuation of residents on the upper floors. Members of the Chelsea Fire Investigation Unit, as well as the State Fire Marshals Office, also responded to the scene. Power was also terminated to the affected areas. The fire is currently under investigation.
The second fire occurred on Saturday morning, April 9, as Firefighters responded to the LFCFL located at 165 Captains Row after Chelsea Fire Alarm received a Box Alarm activation from the facility. While en route, a call was received reporting a stove fire on the sixth floor. Upon arrival, firefighters under the command of Deputy Robert Cameron encountered a heavy smoke condition as well as a stove fire that was extending to the walls and ceiling in the east wing kitchen on the sixth floor.
Crews from E2 and L1 utilized the fifth floor standpipe to knock down the main body of fire as crews from E1, 3 and L2 along with facility staff safely evacuated and sheltered several residents into the west wing until the fire was brought under control.
Cataldo Ambulance crews also responded to the scene to evaluate several patients on the fourth floor complaining of respiratory issues. Chelsea Fire Prevention and members from ISD also responded to the scene.
Though it’s still a controversial subject within City government, firefighters this week said that having a fourth engine company deployed during the Washington Avenue Bridge project – and paid for by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) during the project – has resulted in taking the stress off of Engine 2, one of the busiest engines in America.
“The fourth engine has worked exactly as planned for the Fire Department,” said Deputy Chief John Quatieri. “Engine 4 has responded to over 750 calls since going in service the end of May and was the first engine to arrive at several fires. Engine 2 has responded to over 900 calls during the same time period. So, you can see that if Engine 4 was not in service, Engine 2 would have handled all 1,650 responses, leaving that section of the city without an engine company during those calls.”
Quatieri said from January to May 24 (when the bridge closed), the responses were as follows:
Engine 1 – 931
Engine 2 – 2,110
Engine 3 – 1,110
Conversely, from May 25 to Sept. 4, the responses were:
Engine 1 – 508
Engine 2 – 844
Engine 3 – 767
Engine 4 – 738
The fourth engine has long been controversial in Chelsea, with the Fire Department calling for a fourth company to be instituted and even the possibility of a new station as well. The City and the City Council have never been in agreement that such an increase in coverage is necessary, having routinely disputed the idea.
The fourth engine company came to a head a few years ago when the Fire Matrix Report was issued, a report that both praised and criticized the Fire Department on many fronts. One of the findings, however, was that Engine 2 – one of the busiest engines by call volume in America – was responding to too many incidents. The report made many suggestions as to how to fix that, with one suggestion being to add a fourth engine company.
When the 19-month Washington Avenue Bridge closure was announced – which started this past May – former City Manager Jay Ash and fire officials were able to convince DOT to fund a fourth engine company for the duration of that project. That came due to the fact that it was nearly impossible to respond to some areas without the bridge intact.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he still doesn’t see the need for a fourth engine company, but isn’t ruling it out.
“At this point, I’m not convinced of the need for a fourth engine or fourth station,” he said. “However, I have made clear that I will keep an open mind on the issue, and it will be one of the items that I have my permanent chief look at once I make that personnel decision.”
City Council President Leo Robinson indicated the Council wasn’t too receptive of the idea, even with the test run allowed by the bridge closure. But, he too, didn’t rule it out.
“My only comment is everything is negotiable because they have to come back before the Council,” he said.
The fourth engine company right now is based out of the Central Fire Station with Engine 2 and Tower 1 (which does not carry water, like an engine). The Department said this configuration allows them to have two engines and one ladder truck on each side of the closure – accounting for the Mill Hill and Prattville stations.
“This compliment of apparatus with nine firefighters is enough to start an initial operation in the event of a structure fire on either side of the closure,” Quatieri said. “Three of the nine firefighters will operate the two engines and one ladder company, leaving six firefighters to deploy one hose line and to initiate an interior search of the fire building for possible trapped occupants until the arrival of addition units from the other side of the closure.
“Based on past history and the obvious safety hazard present throughout the city with wood frame buildings spaced so closely together, the Fire Department only has minutes to suppress a fire before its spreads to adjacent buildings,” he continued. “This is why it is so important to have an engine company on scene quickly to immediately deploy an interior attack hose line to contain the fire to the one building.”
He recalled the fire last year during Labor Day weekend on Arlington Street where it quickly spread to five residential buildings, and the department had to let it burn for 15 minutes until an engine company from a neighboring city – on mutual aid – was able to arrive.
“With all five of the Fire Department’s units on scene, two of the five buildings had to be allowed to burn until the first mutual aid engine company arrived, which was 15 minutes into the fire,” he said.