Two alarm fire destroys trailer and truck at Lakeside Mobile Home Park
A fire destroyed a trailer and partially melted three others at the Lakeside Mobile Home Park in East Wareham Sunday night.
No one was injured in the fire, according to Onset firefighter Rachel Rawlings.
The two-alarm fire, which broke out shortly after 8:30 p.m., spread to three trailers at the park, located at 3030 Cranberry Highway. The trailer on lot 12 was completely destroyed and the trailer on lot 34 suffered significant damage. A truck parked between the two was also lost, according to Onset Fire Captain Howard Andersen. The trailers at lots 32, across from lot 12, and 36, next to lot 34, were also partially melted. Firefighters from Wareham, Bourne and Onset were on the scene and all fires were knocked down by 9:10 p.m., but firefighters were still on the scene working in the park until 2 a.m. "Once the flames are extinguished, we have to spray everything down that is still smoldering," Andersen said. "There was nothing -- no smoke, no smell, and then just burst into flames," neighbor Donna Rose said. "It was amazing no one was hurt." Rose lives across the street from lot 34. She said one of the residents of lot 34 was sleeping inside his trailer when the fire erupted. She said one of his girls ran from next door, where she was baking a cake, to get him out. "Someone's birthday -- I can't even think straight, I'm so tired," Rose said. Lots 12, 34, and 36 are without power. Lot 36 resident John Corbett said "it was like a movie."
"I actually saw [the truck] blow off the ground, and then come back down," Corbett said. "I was like, 'Oh, my God, this is real.'" Corbett said local charitable organization Turning Point was helping the families in need. Turning Point Volunteer Carol Fitzpatrick said the families from lots 12 and 34 had already come to the organization for help. "They needed help with food and clothing, and we were able to help them with that," Fitzpatrick said. "They essentially lost everything ... [but] that's all they asked for, right now." Fitzpatrick said the Red Cross was assisting the families with housing, and that members of the community could approach the families privately, if they wanted to help. Rose and Corbett also pointed out a sinkhole that developed Sunday night. The hole is not large, but Rose and Corbett are concerned about it, nonetheless. "It's gotten bigger since last night," Rose remarked. As of Monday, the cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Captain Andersen.
One person is dead and another is seriously injured after a rollover accident Wednesday night on Route 25 in Onset, according to state police. Timothy S Melcher II, 24, of Cotuit was pronounced dead at the scene. A 20-year-old Wareham man, whose name is currently being withheld, was transported to Rhode Island hospital by helicopter with serious injuries, according to state police.
Police said early investigation suggests the driver of the van, a 2008 GMC Savanah van, lost control of the vehicle and that both passengers were ejected from the van. It remains unclear which occupant was driving the van, police said. State troopers from the Bourne barracks arrived at the scene at 7:37 p.m. The cause of the crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time, police said. Wareham Week will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. Warning: Video may be disturbing to some viewers. Photo by: David Curran
Swifts Beach fire takes hours to knock down
A fire at 29 Bayview Street in Swifts Beach took around 40 firefighters from Wareham, Onset, Carver and Rochester almost two hours to knock down. The call went out just after 11 a.m. and smoke was billowing from the house until about 12:30 p.m. At the peak there were eight fire trucks on the scene in addition to Wareham EMS and Police.
As of 1:30 p.m. there were still firefighters on scene but it appeared that the fire was out. There was no one in the house at the time of the fire. According to neighbors, the house is owned by Teresa Gallinaro, who has lived in the house since the 1960s. She currently lives there alone. Residents said a child heard the smoke alarm and got word to someone who ran down to the Swifts Beach Association Club where Gallinaro was Sunday afternoon. "We beefed up the response because it's a nice day. Guys get tired," said Wareham Fire Chief Robert McDuffy. "The weather conditions makes it a challenge." Swifts Beach residents gave bottles of water to firefighters all afternoon.
According to officials, the fire caused an estimated $180,000 in damage. The cause of the fire is unclear at this time and is under investigation by the Wareham Fire Department, Police Department and the state Fire Marshal.
Wareham Week will update this story as more information becomes available.
Onset Fire Department, District, date back to late 1800s
Back in the late 1800s, before Onset was called Onset and before the invention of the automobile, there was a group of women among the earlier settlers known as “Spiritualists” that decided they wanted to make the area a better place to live. Initially, the all-female group, who called themselves ‘The Ladies Industrial Union,” worked in the area then known as Pine Point to help provide for the poor, start a library, install street signs, and start a Sunday School for children. At some point in the late 1880s, the group decided it was time to start a fire department in the area. It’s rumored that the group held bake sales to raise funds, and eventually donated $50 that helped purchase ladders, hooks, buckets, and axes for the purpose of fighting fires in town. After a fire 1886, which was diffused with the help of the equipment, the community decided the ladies were onto something, and by 1890, the Industry Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 was formed.
According to Lenny Gay, who is currently the second oldest active member on the Onset Fire Department serving since 1958, the main goal of the original “Hook and Ladder” was to limit the spread of fire to multiple buildings. Gay referenced a large fire on Shell Point early in Onset’s history that if not for Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 could have burned down all or most of the residences in the entire area. “If we didn’t have a fire department here, there probably wouldn’t be any Shell Point,” he said.
All of this, of course, took place before the invention of the automobile, and all of the department’s equipment was either horse-drawn or had to be pushed by hand. That includes the original hose reel, which still sits in the original Onset Fire Department building now located besides the current station on Central Avenue (it was previously located across the street on West Central Avenue). Similar to a wheel barrow, the hose reel was hand-drawn with no engine power to pressurize the water. Gay said that Industry Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 was integrated from day one, as the clerk for the department, George Law, was black. He also said that it wasn’t until 1923 that they got their first fire truck, an Ahrens Fox, and that they were the first in the area with a street box alarm system, meaning a fire box located in a neighborhood could be pulled to notify the department of a fire.
As for the formation of the Onset Fire District, Gay said that in 1894, Onset petitioned the town of Wareham to be a separate entity from the town. Selectmen put the petition on the town’s warrant, and in 1895, it was ratified, freeing the district and the department from being overseen by officials from the town of Wareham.
According to Gay, from there, the Onset Fire District bought the Onset Water Company, which created Onset Water Department. Though most of Massachusetts’ cities and towns have one official fire department, Gay said there are around 20-25 separate fire districts in the state today, including three in Dartmouth and the two in Wareham. “They’re not uncommon in the state,” said Gay, noting that all of the fire districts in the state have a Prudential Committee and a Board of Engineers to oversee them. Gay also said that the Onset Fire District runs strictly on tax revenue, the Onset Water Department runs strictly on revenue from the sale of water, and that neither gets any revenue under Proposition 2-1/2. “That’s all we’re getting for money,” he said. “We don’t have the access to revenue that the town does.”
In 1896, the department consisted of a Chief Engineer, two Assistant Engineers, one Hook and Ladder Company of 25 men, two Hose Companies consisting of 12 men each, and a Fire Police Force of six men, with a total of 58 men in the department.
Today, those numbers are similar—the Fire Department, according to Gay, has six full-time firefighters, with approximately 55 call firefighters on the force. But if it wasn’t for the Industrial League of Women, there might never have been an independent Onset Fire Department and District. Gay said that like the original Hook and Ladder crew, formed with the help of those women, the current Onset department is efficient and dedicated to keeping Onset safe.
“We have a cracker-jack fire department,” said Gay. “We’re small and we can respond quickly.”