Chelsea Fire Helped Respond to Greater Lawrence Gas Explosions

Chelsea Fire Helped Respond to Greater Lawrence Gas Explosions

In the wake of massive gas line explosions in the Greater Lawrence area last Thursday, Sept. 13, the Chelsea Fire Department jumped into action and responded to Andover High School to support first response efforts.

Chief Len Albanese said that the Tower 1 apparatus responded to an Andover Staging Area at Andover High School as part of Metro Structural task Force 13.

Greater Lawrence’s normal mutual aid capabilities were taxed to the breaking point, and so the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) began to request structural task forces from other regions, including Chelsea.

“Our Tower Ladder responded to multiple calls for odors of gas and the like in the structures,” said the Chief. “They did not respond to any structure fires. They were back here in the city by 9 p.m.”

The Chief said it was an incredible job by the state and local operations to coordinate so many responding helpers.

“This was an enormous mobilization of resources,” he said. “Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and MEMA with the help of all of the other agencies involved, including multiple law enforcement agencies did an exceptional job of meeting this most unique major fire/ emergency operation.”

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MCU Awards Scholarships to Local Students

MCU Awards Scholarships to Local Students

Metro Credit Union recently awarded $16,000 in scholarships to college-bound high school seniors.

Metro’s Scholarship Program encourages high school seniors who are members of Metro Credit Union, or who have a parent or guardian who is a member, to apply for the chance to receive $1,000 towards tuition.

Thirteen scholarships were awarded to graduating high school seniors who have been accepted to an accredited undergraduate program. Scholarship recipients were selected on the basis of academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, statement of goals and aspirations, unique personal or family circumstances, and an outside appraisal.

“We’re proud to help students advance their education and their future prospects with scholarship funding,” said Robert Cashman, president and CEO of Metro Credit Union. “We hope that students who benefit from our scholarships will achieve personal and professional success.”

Students honored with Metro Credit Union Scholarships are: Leslie Rallis of Peabody, Brianna Bardales, Thomas Mirbel, and Lilian Guerrero of Lynn, Marie Jeanty of Burlington, Rhaida Shephard of Lawrence, Danielle More, Cara Madarese, Crystal Atchison, and Vincent Rocchio of Boston, Roberto Martinez of Framingham, and May Lam and Tina Nguyen of Chelsea.

Metro also awarded $3,000 in scholarships to Peabody and Chelsea High School students who participated in the High School Branch Banking program throughout the school year. The Financial Literacy Scholarship was designed to honor students who showed exemplary skills in their Finance and Business coursework during their internships at Metro’s high school branches.

Metro Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Massachusetts, approaching $1.8 billion in assets. Metro provides a full range of financial products to more than 200,000 members in Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol and Worcester counties, as well as to over 1,200 companies throughout the Commonwealth.

Founded in 1926, Metro currently operates 15 branch offices in Boston, Burlington, Chelsea, Framingham, Lawrence, Lynn, Melrose, Newton, Peabody, Salem, and Tewksbury. Learn more at

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Chief Warns of Safety on Porches Following Major Fire Last Week

Chief Warns of Safety on Porches Following Major Fire Last Week

Following a six-alarm fire last Wednesday afternoon, May 2, on John Street – where two dwellings were a complete loss – Chief Leonard Albanese warned this week for residents to be extremely careful with activities on back porches – though he said the cause last week wasn’t yet determined.

Chelsea firefighters fighting the John Street blaze on May 2 with heavy smoke.

The fire last week originated on a second-floor, back porch of 10 John St.

“We haven’t determined the official cause yet,” he said. “We know it’s not arson, and it’s accidental. I want to emphasize that porch fires are a significant threat to our community and residents need to use extreme caution with the fire load on their decks, not smoking on their decks and not cooking on decks. No one is allowed to use a grill on any floor above the ground level.”

Chief Albanese said the firefighters and mutual aid partners did a great job with the fire on a day that was extremely busy in Greater Boston, as there was a fire in Cambridge and Somerville on the same day.

The fire came in on the afternoon of May 2, and it originated on the second-floor rear porch of 10 John St., a three-story multiple wood frame dwelling. Companies arrived with heavy fire conditions on all three rear porches at 10 John St., extending into the structure with fire threatening the immediate three-story exposures to the left (6 John St.) and right (12 John St.). The end result was the total loss of both 6 and 10 John St.; along with minor damage to 12 John St.

A large three-story, six-unit building at 68-70 Clark Ave. also sustained water damage. The home at 66 Clark Ave. sustained radiant heat damage only in the rear. Also, 56 Parker St. had exterior radiant heat damage only to the rear; and 50 Parker St. had a damaged fence from fire operations.

At 6 John St., 18 residents were displaced, and at 10 John St., 12 residents were displaced. Both structures were considered a total loss by fire officials.

The Red Cross provided immediate assistance to displaced residents.

There were no reported civilian injuries.

There were three immediately reported firefighter injuries, and all were treated and released. There were multiple other injuries sustained with the extreme conditions in which this fire was fought. All firefighters were exposed to smoke and products of combustion inhalation with an estimated three to five additional injuries being evaluated after the fire.

“The members of the Chelsea Fire Department along with our mutual aid partners engaged in a major fire operation under extreme conditions, which led to the containment of the fire to the loss of two structures only,” said the chief. “Without their valiant efforts, we could have lost several other structures further devastating the effected neighborhood. This was without a doubt a great job done by all.”

He also praised 9-1-1 dispatch for coordinating all six alarms.

“Additionally, Chelsea 911 did a great job allocating resources for the six alarms and guiding them to the scene,” he said. “This is difficult on a normal day, but Somerville had a multiple alarm fire that was tying up companies in the Metro Fire region at the same time, making this task a challenge.”

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MCU Selected to Take Part in Equity Builder Program

MCU Selected to Take Part in Equity Builder Program

Metro Credit Union (MCU)  has been selected to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Equity Builder Program, which assists local homebuyers with down-payment and closing costs assistance. Metro received $110,000 through the program, which is available on a first come first serve basis. Homebuyers, at or below 80 percent of the area median income and complete a homebuyer counseling program are eligible to receive up to $11,000 to be used in conjunction with Metro’s flexible loan programs and reduced fees.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this assistance to help ease some of the challenges associated with a home purchase. Homeownership is key to building wealth and creating financial stability, and programs that assist homebuyers are a critical component in ensuring that our communities continue to thrive,” said Robert Cashman, President & CEO, Metro Credit Union.

Since 2003, the Equity Builder Program has awarded more than $35 million in EBP funds assisting 3,150 income-eligible households to purchase a home.

 To learn more about applying for assistance, please contact a Metro Mortgage Specialist at  877.696.3876 or visit

About Metro Credit Union

Metro Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Massachusetts with over $1.3 billion in assets, and serves more than 170,000 members. It is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to anyone living or working in Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol or Worcester counties in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as Massachusetts state employees and retirees throughout the Commonwealth. Founded in 1926, Metro Credit Union is a non-profit cooperative institution, owned by and operated for the people who use and benefit from its products and services. Metro uses superior customer service and technology to deliver a full range of financial products to consumers and businesses in eastern Massachusetts. Learn more about Metro Credit Union at

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Housing Program Helps Families Survive Crisis Without Turning to Shelters

Housing Program Helps Families Survive Crisis Without Turning to Shelters

By Seth Daniel

The Metro Housing Boston organization reported this month that their transition assistance program for families in crisis helped 70 families in Chelsea with a total expenditure of $190,623 locally.

Outside of Boston, Chelsea was the one community where RAFT was utilized more than others. The next closest community was Malden with 47 families helped.

The Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program provides families with a small amount of cash assistance and provides an option to having to enter emergency shelter. Metro Housing Boston administers RAFT in Boston and 28 surrounding communities. With RAFT, eligible families can apply for up to $4,000 that can be used to help retain housing, get new housing, keep utilities on and to avoid homelessness. To qualify, a family cannot make more than 50 percent of the area median income, which in the 2017 Boston region was $46,550 for a family of three.

“Many families are living paycheck to paycheck,” red the report. “An unplanned expense can put their housing in jeopardy. RAFT provides a safety net for families to have something to fall back on when they are in crisis and need support.”

It is the fourth year that Metro Housing Boston has shared the data about the program, which is funded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Stating that Boston is one of the top five most expensive cities to live within in the United States, officials from Metro Housing Boston said such funding is extremely important for families with very low incomes to handle things like fires or other catastrophes that they cannot afford to plan for.

“For four years running, our reports continue to show the positive impacts of the RAFT program,” said Metro Housing Executive Director Christopher Norris. “For a relatively small investment, families in our region are able to stay in their communities near their children’s schools, their health providers, and their social networks. This is crucial to helping families maintain stability and achieve economic security.”

Overall, including Chelsea, the program likely saved 1,000 families from turning to a shelter – which also is estimated to have saved the state $31 million in emergency shelter funds. For the $3.8 million RAFT funding, 1,474 families were able to resolve housing crises.

With the continued commitment to funding by the state for RAFT, the program has been able to assist 60 percent more families than it did four years ago. However, this year the average benefit decreased by 3 percent to an average of $2,614 per client.

Also, a pilot program during FY17 expanded RAFT eligibility to include families of all sizes and configurations. Under this program, Metro Housing served 60 households, 31 of whom were individuals and 27 of whose head of household had a disability.

A vast majority of those receiving RAFT (48 percent) use it to pay rent that is in arrears. Some 20 percent use it to pay security deposits for a new apartment, and 11 percent use it for first/last months rent payments on a new apartment.

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Chelsea Fire Takes Delivery of Two New Apparatus

Chelsea Fire Takes Delivery of Two New Apparatus

The Chelsea Fire Department recently received two new pieces of fire apparatus, and at the moment both are being outfitted a preparing to be put into service.

The Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) has taken delivery of two new fire vehicles this week. Both are currently being outfitted and will be put into service later this month.

The Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) has taken delivery of two new fire vehicles this week. Both are currently being outfitted and will be put into service later this month.

First, the new Ladder 2, which replaces a 1999 aerial that runs from the Mill Hill Station on Broadway, was purchased by the City as part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This new truck is currently being customized with equipment and going through the training process, and will be in service by the end of November.

The addition of this new ladder truck gives the department a viable spare aerial device that can be placed in service when a front line ladder is down for service or repairs, which is a great safety net for the city.

Second, the new Rescue 1 will replace the current Squad 5 and a step van that was utilized as a Special Operations vehicle.

This Rescue was acquired through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program that was applied for by Fire Chief Len Albanese.

This $600,000 Rescue was obtained at only a 10 percent co-share by the City. This truck will be equipped with Special Operations equipment, most of which has been provided to the City through the Metro Boston Urban Area Strategic Initiative (UASI) program.  As part of the regional preparedness, Chelsea specializes in Technical Search for structural collapse.

When needed for Regional Response, this new Rescue can quickly get a large amount of equipment and to the scene of an incident.  This truck will be customized next, once the Ladder is completed. Then the department will conduct additional training and the project will be completed by the end of the year if not sooner.

The department hopes to be able to eventually staff this Rescue with the expansion of the additional eight firefighters obtained through SAFER Grant.

For now, it will be in service – unmanned and taken when needed, the same way the current Squad 5 has been used.

“My goal with the SAFER grant that provided eight additional firefighters and the acquisition of the Rescue was to get more boots on the ground in the field and eventually get the Rescue staffed,” said Chief Albanese. “The city manager and the council have made a commitment to support funding for these projects. Time will tell if we are able to bring this goal to fruition within our budget. There are several factors that will affect that possibility.”

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Police Briefs 06-16-2016


Chelsea Fire and Police were kept busy this past week responding to several motor vehicle accidents.

On Thursday evening, June 9, a motor vehicle accident was reported in the vicinity of Eastern Ave and Cottage Streets.

According to witnesses the accident occurred when one of the operators traveling north on Eastern Avenue attempted to make a left turn from Eastern Avenue onto Cottage Street and was struck by a vehicle traveling south in the opposite direction. Both vehicles suffered extensive damage as well as a telephone pole that was struck in the process. One of the operators to the hospital with non life threatening injury and both vehicles were towed from the scene.

On Friday morning, June 10, a Tractor Trailer attempting to turn onto Highland Street from Central Avenue struck a parked vehicle owned by Ventura Taxi (see photo). The accident caused a serious traffic delay as crews from Todisco Towing attempted to remove the mini van that was locked onto the rear bumper of the truck. No injuries were reported.

On Sunday afternoon, June 12, Chelsea Fire and Police responded to the area of 221 Webster Ave. on a report of a multiple car accident with airbag deployment. Chelsea Fire Fighters from E3/ L2 under the command of Act. Capt. Rogers arrived to find the aftermath of a two-vehicle accident. Multiple passengers in one of the vehicles suffered non life threatening head and neck injuries and were transported to the hospital.

Chelsea Police are investigated the cause of the accidents.


On June 4, around 1:14 a.m., officers responded to 156 Washington Ave. for the report of shots fired. Chelsea dispatchers advised responding officers that the witness caller reported that they observed a Hispanic male wearing a white t-shirt and camouflage shorts running down Washington Avenue towards Bloomingdale Street carrying a black handgun.

Upon arrival officers conducted an immediate search of the area for potential suspects and potential victims. While conducting a search of the area, officers were able to utilize video from a nearby store that captured evidence. Based on that video and officers’ actions they placed subject under arrest. A firearm was recovered later by officers.

Jesus Perez, 19, of 37 Suffolk Ave., was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault and battery attempt with a firearm, disorderly conduct, carrying a loaded firearm without a permit and possession of ammunition without a permit.


On May 31, officers responded to 583 Broadway on a report of a home invasion. The officer’s noted the victim never called police but ran into a nearby store thinking he may have been shot. Upon arrival officers were informed at the store by the reluctant victim that two armed males entered his home while he was in his bedroom. He was confronted by the two suspects and a struggle with the two males he could not identify ensued. He reported that he was pistol whipped, causing a laceration to the face area. The victim also reported that the suspects fired two rounds but he was not hit by the rounds.

Gary Desir, 30, of 583 Broadway, was charged with cocaine trafficking and possession of a Class B drug.


On June 1, around 5 p.m., members of the Chelsea Police Drug Unit set up surveillance in the area of 170 Revere Beach Parkway as a direct result of receiving multiple complaints for illicit drug activities..

Detectives were sitting in the parking lot of Metro Credit Union in an unmarked vehicle conducting surveillance when they observed a drug transaction between two vehicles. Based on observations both vehicles were stopped. The subsequent stop resulted in the subjects being placed under arrest and narcotics seized.

Alexis Rodriguez, 32, of Lynn, was charged with distribution of a Class A drug, conspiracy and four warrants.

Dana Memory, 28, of Somerville, was charged with distribution of a Class A drug and conspiracy.

Kelvin Veras, 26, of 120 Central Ave., was charged with distribution of a Class A drug and conspiracy.


On Friday, June 3, officers were dispatched to the Las Papusas Restaurant located at 92 Washington Ave. for a report of a male party who had a handgun threatening people in the area. Officers were given a description and detained a suspect based on witness statements. The victims stated that the male approached them in front of the bar and lifted his waistband, which revealed to them a black handgun. He then made threatening comments to the victims.

Officers were able to detain and search suspect’s car and recovered a black BB gun. Suspect was placed under arrest.

Jose Nolasco, 26, of Everett, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and threatening to commit a crime.

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Heading for Victory


The Chelsea Red Devils boys soccer team is on a tear this season, being undefeated with two ties (14-0-2). The team has had a tremendous year needless to say, and continued its winning ways on Monday in a home game versus Northeast Metro Tech, winning 3-1. Here, Derilson Barros De Pina gets his head into the game with a midfield shot.

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Chelsea Rotary Installation of Officers Set for June 30

The Chelsea Rotary Club will hold its Annual Installation of Officers at 6pm at the Chelsea Yacht Club on Tuesday June 30th. MCs for the evening will be Past Presidents Joe Vinard and Sergio Jaramillo. Installed officers for 2015/2016 will be Atty. Mark White, of Hagstrom White P.C. as President, Rev. Sandra Whitley of People’s A.M.E. Church as President-Elect, Atty. David Mindlin of Kraft and Hall as Vice President, Past President D. Bruce Much of Chelsea Clock as Secretary, Melissa Vo of Fusion Foods as Sergeant-at-Arms and Past President Joe Vinard of Chelsea Bank a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank as Treasurer. Past President Robert Alconada of Shore Collaborative will be honored as Rotarian of the Year. Abril Bocanegra will be installed as the Chelsea High School Interact President for 2015/2016. The Club will also be awarding Paul Harris Fellowships, one of Rotary International’s highest honors, to three Rotarians; Past President Brian Hatleberg of PHH Mortgage, John Letizia of CAPIC and Past President Saritin Rizzuto of Metro CU. Outgoing President Joseph Panetta of Joseph Panetta Accounting and Tax Services will be thanked for his past year of service to the Chelsea Rotary Club.

Everyone is invited to attend this event honoring the outstanding business people in our community. If you would like to attend, contact Sue Gallant at or call 617-884-7382.

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Training Drills

Training Drills


If you were walking, driving or just sitting comfortably in your home Saturday morning, chances are you had a Henry Hill moment. For the better portion of the morning and early afternoon, members of the Massachusetts State Police, FBI and the U.S. Department of Energy were conducting training drills over the city making several low passes just above rooftops in a Bell Rotorcraft Survey helicopter measuring natural ground radiation levels. Several people were caught by surprise as the aircraft would appear out of nowhere over rooftops and tree lines. At one point the aircraft made an extremely close pass by the Chelsea Street Bridge about 150 feet off the ground. The training exercises were being conducted over several cities in the Metro Boston area.

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