On 3/5/2020, Boston Fire Alarm dispatched companies to a reported fire on Stonehurst Street in the Dorchester neighborhood. First-due companies had heavy fire on the second and third floors, and a second alarm was called about five minutes later. A third alarm was eventually struck. At one point a mayday was declared for a missing member but he was quickly found and self-extricated from the building.
On 3/8/2020, Boston Fire Alarm struck a box for a reported fire on Bloomington Street in Dorchester. Engine 20 arrived with smoke showing and found a fire in the basement. An extra truck company was requested to the scene and firefighters had the fire out in about 20 minutes. Traffic on Morrissey Boulevard was diverted as companies ran a supply line across the street.
On 3/15/2019, Boston Fire Alarm struck a box for a reported fire on the roof of a large building at the northeast side of the city. Companies initially had fire in an HVAC-type unit but quickly discovered the fire had spread along the roof line and above the sprinkler system. A trench cut was attempted to stop the spread but was unsuccessful.
Due to the size of the building, which was home to the New England Casket Company, accessibility problems, and water supply issues, a second and third alarm were struck within 30 minutes. Companies fought defensively and on air due to the various solvents housed in the building.
As the fire progressed, BFD Commissioner Joe Finn assumed command and struck additional alarms and special calls, including the city’s second tower ladder to respond out of district. As conditions worsened and smoke spread throughout the area, the decision was made to shut down the MBTA Blue Line, which ran near the fire building, and utilize the reverse-911 system to evacuate the Orient Heights neighborhood.
Companies initiated foam operations and dealt with a significant ember problem; additional engine companies were assigned to the neighborhood to minimize exposure damage. In all, nine alarms were struck with multiple special calls. By 11pm some units were released, but the department remained on scene throughout the night chasing hot spots. The building was a total loss.
On 10/27/2018, the Boston Fire Department received calls for a reported building fire in the Back Bay neighborhood of the city. First-due companies had fire showing in a five-story apartment building, with people trapped on the top floors. Two additional alarms were quickly struck by the IC, followed by four more as the fire progressed. The apartments largely housed students from area colleges, and was a total loss with damage in the millions of dollars.
Monday, my wife and I went to Boston’s North End for lunch and as we were heading home, Box 3148 was struck for the front porches of a house on Welles Street, in the Dorchester area. We were about 5 minutes from that location and Engine 18 arrived and reported fire showing. They quickly stretched a line and knocked the fire down before it could extend to the interior.
So far this year, I have been late to almost every fire that I have been to. I live in RI, about an hour from Boston but frequently travel there. I was listening to Boston the other night and heard them strike the box for the fire on Lexington Street in East Boston. This area is isolated from Boston and is very densely populated. The streets are full of three deckers, separated by no more than three or four feet.
A fire broke out in a vehicle between two three-deckers and extended to both. District Chief 1 covers East Boston and falls under the command of Division 1. On his arrival, District 1 reported heavy fire in two dwellings and struck a second alarm. The wind swept fire quickly spread through the roof and extended to another building on Lexington. District 1 struck four alarms within the first five minutes of operating, all before the deputy arrived. Once on scene, C-6, the Deputy, assumed command and made District 1 operations chief. Eight alarms would be needed to bring the fire under control.
I left my house as the sixth alarm was struck and arrived after the fire had been knocked down. The most popular photo of this fire is of the BMW parked on the hydrant. My photo isn’t the one that went viral but I walked right past it when walking to the fire scene. It is one of those things that I can scratch off of my list of things that as a fire photographer I have always wanted to shoot.
Since I don’t go out much at night, it also gave me a chance to see how reflective the new green on green stripes are on the new gear. It is far more noticeable than the green with silver. For those that are familiar with the Boston Fire Department, I included a photo of Engine 24 and one of the officer of Engine 52. Engine 24, along with Ladder 23, are two very busy companies from the Grove Hall section of Roxbury. Engine 52, housed with Ladder 29, is located on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester. Neither one of these companies are remotely close to East Boston and it is very rare to see them there.
In the early morning hours of December 3, 2013, Boston Box 711 was struck for a building fire at 327 Summer Street. First to arrive, TL-3 reported smoke showing from the fifth floor of a large commercial building. As companies entered the building, imaging cameras showed very high heat coming from the basement level. Extreme caution was used by interior companies and in short order, companies were withdrawn and eight alarms were struck.
Videos from the fire showed heavy fire blowing out from the first floor of the building. The fire broke out at 4:30 in the morning but I didn’t find out until I got out of bed at 7. I was planning on going to Boston that day anyway, so as I was getting into the city, crews were reporting that they still had moderate smoke conditions and visible fire around the columns of the second and third floor. The building was five stories from the Summer Street side but six stories from the rear alley.
I arrived shortly after 10, 6 hours into operations. There were numerous ladders set up on Summer Street and several engines and a ladder set up in the rear alley. In the last photo, oddly in 20+ years of shooting is one of my favorites, you can see streams being played from the building across the alley into the upper levels of the fire building. These two angles were the only ones that weren’t blocked by fire lines when I arrived. The rest of the photos are on my site, www.northeastfirephotos.smugmug.com