WHITMAN — The last several weeks have been exceptionally busy for first responders in Whitman, Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said Tuesday. Amid day-to-day medical calls, the department has responded to four separate house fires since Feb. 13.
One of the fires occurred at 4:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 26, only hours after firefighters returned from an extensive brush fire on the Whitman Abington town line.
Early Tuesday morning the Whitman Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire at 142 Raynor Ave.
A passerby noticed the fire and called 911 also waking the family inside and helping them safely get out of the house. There were no reported injuries, according to a statement through Grenno’s office.
When firefighters arrived, the single-family ranch-style home had fire showing from an outside wall of an attached garage. The fire had extended up the exterior wall and the interior walls of the garage. Abington fire department responded to the scene to provide assistance.
The fire was quickly brought under control and firefighters successfully prevented the flames from spreading further into the house.
The initial investigation indicates that the fire started accidentally due to the spontaneous combustion of oily rags that were used earlier in the day to strip a floor.
“I would like to commend the passerby for their quick actions in calling 911 and having the wherewithal to wake up the family and get them out of the house,” Chief Grenno said. “Anyone dealing with oily rags or cloths should never leave them in a pile and should hang them up to dry or lay them out on the ground. As the rags dry, they give off heat and if the heat is not released it can cause a fire.”
At about 2:30 p.m., Monday March 25, Whitman Fire Department helped in extinguishing a large brush fire that started in Abington on Brockton Avenue .
“Upon arrival, firefighters discovered that the fire had spread toward the high tension power lines on the Whitman/Brockton town lines. The large swath of land sits near the town lines of the three communities. ‘Whitman deployed a brush truck, engine and shift commander to help coordinate extinguishing the flames’” Grenno said.
Firefighters from Abington, Brockton and Holbrook responded and were relocated to keep ahead of the flames.
It took firefighters about two hours to fully extinguish the fire, which burned about four acres of land. Firefighters successfully prevented the fire from spreading to any nearby buildings. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation, but is not considered suspicious at this time.
On March 21, a family was displaced at 81 School St., following a kitchen fire.
Later determined to be a grease firefirefighters from Whitman Hanson, East Bridgewater and Abington assisted in controlling and extinguishing the heavy fire and were able to prevent further spreading into the remaining multi family home.
No injuries were reported and four residents of the building were temporarily displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage to the home.
Initial investigation indicated that the fire was caused by grease in a cooking pan. The resident attempted to put the fire out with flour, but was unsuccessful.
The damage done to the home was estimated at about $60,000.
Chief Grenno commended the work of firefighters for their quick response and knockdown of the fire.
“Thankfully our ambulance had just returned from a hospital transport with two of our six on-duty firefighters on board,” Chief Grenno said. “Had the fire started 10 minutes earlier we would have only been able to send four firefighters and there would have likely been significantly more damage to the house. This incident, along with two other significant fires in recent months, highlights the importance of a properly staffed fire department.”
Firefighters responded to 134 Bayberry Road Feb. 23 for a reported chimney fire just after 9:30 p.m.
While en route, firefighters were notified that flames had extended into the one and a half story building. A fire in a wood stove had extended to the chimney, exterior wall and ceiling.
The location of the fire presented firefighters with unique challenges, requiring them to do extensive work opening up of the home’s ceiling and wall in order to fully extinguish the flames.
“Our firefighters did an excellent job extinguishing a fire under complex circumstances,” Chief Grenno said.
There were no injuries as a result of the fire, and the home’s lone occupant spent the night with a family member.
Whitman firefighters were supported on scene by crews from the Abington, East Bridgewater and Hanson fire departments.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The damage to the home was estimated at $40,000.
The largest fire, which reached six alarms for man power and EMS occurred to a three story apartment complex in the early evening on Commercial Street Feb. 13 in Whitman.
The house has since been razed.