Belmont Fire Log: Co-Workers Fall Victim to Careless Disposal of Smokes

Photo: The victims. 

On the fence

Sept. 6 – At 8:35 a.m., Engine 1 and its crew sped to Waverely Square’s Church Street for a report of a smoldering mulch fire that had extended to a nearby fence post. The team used hand tools and a two-and-a-half gallon can of water to extinguish the fire.

Needs air 

Sept. 6 – At a quarter past 9 a.m., a crew from the Belmont Center station were sent to nearby Stone Hearth Pizza on Leonard Street for a “medical emergency.” Turns out that the alarm went off because painters didn’t ventilate the area tripping the alarm.

Let us in

Sept. 7 – Just before 3 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a distillery on Brighton Street after the duct smoke detector went off. The firefighters who were first to arrive could not get inside the store because the keys inside the lock box could not open the door’s deadbolts. So an outside visual inspection was performed, and there were no signs of smoke or fire.  The crews made a return visit to the location an hour later companies for a second false alarm activation. 

I’m getting in

Sept. 7 – At 10 past 8 p.m., a crew was dispatched to South Cottage Road for a person who forgot their keys and needed a little help getting inside the townhouse. The property owner signed a release form then used some force on the door lock in the garage to get inside.

A little help

Sept. 8 – At just about 1:30 a.m., firefighters were sent to Slade Street for yet another resident who locked themselves out of their abode. This time, entry was gained through an open first-floor window. There was no damage. 

Power play

Sept. 8 – At a minute past 10 a.m., Engine 1, Engine 2 and the Ladder truck took off to Winter Street house for a report of an odor of smoke inside the house. Turns out an electrical power strip was arcing in the home office. Fire personnel unplugged the strip and used water to cool a scorched area of the rug. Firefighters also spoke with the homeowner regarding overloading of plugs and a missing face plates to several outlets in other parts of the home.

Lost: a working couple

Sept. 9 – At just before half-past 4 p.m., crews were dispatched to the rear of Salon Monroe on Pleasant Street for the aftermath of an outdoor rubbish fire. They found an extinguished fire in the right rear corner of the building where a mop and bucket had burned due to the careless disposal of cigarettes. Occupants were advised to use a proper container for disposing of smoking materials in the future.

Belmont Fire Log: Sharp-Eyed Firefighter Spots Improperly-Placed Grill

Photo: Summer grilling. 

One hot car

July 16 – At twenty ’til 2 p.m., Engine 1 and the Ladder truck hustled over to a car fire on Howard Street located across from the Chenery Middle School.  Both crews assisted the other in extinguishing the car fire. The motor vehicle was towed to the Town Yard.

An downstairs disaster everted 

July 17 – Just a few ticks away from 8 p.m., all of the town’s fire equipment was sent to a single-family house on York Road where the report of smoke in the basement. The Engine 2 crew reported smoke filling the area. Rushing in, firefighters discovered a small blaze – about a foot wide and deep – in a small storage area. The blaze was put out using a Class A extinguisher while the crew from the Ladder truck helped ventilate the house. The culprit? An errant cigarette. The homeowner said a family member accidentally caused the fire.

That smell

July 18 – At 11:23 a.m., an occupant of a Westlund Road dwelling said they smelled a “distinct fuel odor” coming from the basement. Fire personnel soon found a leak from the oil burner. The line from the oil tank was shut down and SpeedyDry® was put down on ground.

On deck: grill close call 

July 18 – At 10 minutes ’til 6 p.m., fire equipment was returning back to the station when an eagle eyed firefighter noticed what appeared to be a grill fire on the rear deck of a house on Slade Street. Not only was he correct concerning the placement of the grill, it turns out the grease had just ignited in the drip pan. The fire was quickly extinguished, the grill relocated and the resident was made aware of fire regulations on the placement of grills.

Belmont Fire Log: An Act of Kindness for a Belmont Senior

Outside, looking in

March 8 – Just about half past noon, a fire crew headed to a residence on Simmons Avenue to help yet another resident who found themselves locked out of their home.

Search on a cold night

March 9 – A hair before 6 p.m., Engine 1 and the Rescue truck took off towards a house on Beech Street after someone reported seeing a person in a nearby snow bank. Crews took the call quite serious as the call came from a group house for people needing assistance in their daily lives. When the firefighters got there, they couldn’t find anyone in the area. In addition, everyone at the group home was accounted for. The person who made the call told the crews that the person who he spotted in the snow had left the location.

Boiler blowout

March 10 – A couple of minutes after 1 a.m., a fire squad responded to a report of gushing water in house on Greybirch Park. The team discovered that the boiler had cracked and water was leaking out. The heating system was shut down.

Time for spring cleaning

March 11 – Just before half past 11 a.m., firefighters arrived at a Centre Avenue house after they got a report the fire alarm had gone off. Turns out workers doing renovations had kicked up enough dust to accidentally activated the smoke detector.

Going above and beyond

March 13 – It was too early in the morning, just after 3 a.m. when the dispatcher received a call from a disabled resident needing help. The Engine 1 crew arrived a cold Slade Street two-family where they found a man in his 70s sitting in a chair in the living room, a walker close at hand. The resident told the firefighters he was unsure how to use the digital wall thermostat and could the crew turn up the heat in the apartment. The firefighters showed the resident how to adjust the thermostat and waited for the heat to return. While the elderly man denied that he needed any other assistance at the moment, the firefighters encouraged him to call back when the need arises.

Belmont Fire Log: Stuck in the Fire House, Town Hall All Wet

Editor’s Note: The photo initially used to illustrate this article is a copyright image by an established photographer used without his permission or compensation. The selection of the image was inadvertent and an error that this publication regrets.

Locked out

March 2 – Just after 3 p.m., firefighters headed over to Creeley Road where they helped a resident who locked himself out of his house.

All that snow

March 4 – Right at 11 a.m., Engine 1 was dispatched to Greybirch Park house for a water leak in the ceiling. The homeowner was informed to have her electrical wiring and ceiling checked by licensed professionals.

It happens

March 4 – At 10 minutes ’til noon, the elevator in the Fire Department’s Trapelo Road headquarters suddenly stalled, stranding a few people in the cab. It didn’t take long for firefighter’s to “extricated” the occupants as they only had to travel a few feet to the location of the incident. 

Your neighbor’s fire

March 4 – At a quarter ’til 9 p.m., Engine 1 went to investigate the reported outdoor odor of smoke outside a house on Brookside Avenue. Turns out a next-door neighbor was using his fireplace. 

Lunchtime mishap

March 5 – At a quarter ’til 1 p.m., fire crews were sent to a business on Pleasant Street for a possible fire. It turned out that the blaze was confined to food container.

Town Hall all wet

March 7 – At 9:18 a.m., Engines 1 and 2, the ladder truck and Rescue 1 were dispatched to Belmont Town Hall after a report the fire sprinkler was operating. The Engine 2 crew didn’t find a fire or smoke but did discover the sprinkler head in the first-floor vestibule spraying water everywhere. The system was shut down despite the fact that firefighters were unable to gain access to the main alarm panel room. Town employees said he would take care of access issues. The elevator was also locked and tagged due to water in the shaft.




Belmont Fire Log: Damn the Ice Dams, Time Out for the Fire Alarm

Now that’s a deep sleep

Feb. 9 – Just a few minutes ’til 5 a.m., Engine 1 was sent to a two-family on Harding Avenue because a smoke detractor was blaring and blaring. The people on the first floor said the second-floor residents were there, but they could not raise them. The crew forced their way into the apartment where they discovered visible smoke in the unit. Firefighters found and woke up the sound sleepers and along with the first-floor residents were evacuated. Turns out the smoke came from the fireplace where a small blaze was filling the apartment with smoke. Yup, a resident, closed the flue before making sure the fire was completely out. The fire was put out, and the place ventilated.

Damn, that ice dam

Feb. 9 – At a quarter past 9 a.m., firefighters arrived at a Hawthorne Street house where a resident was having an issue with a small amount of water leaking through the ceiling. Turns out there was an ice dam behind the gutter. Unfortunately for the resident, “there was nothing we could do nothing to rectify the issue,” stated firefighters.

Low-tech solution 

Feb. 9 – About ten minutes past 2 p.m., Engine 2 was dispatched to a location on Richardson Road by the town’s Water Department to investigate water flowing around a sidewalk/retaining wall area. The water was running down an occupant’s driveway and into his garage. The sump pump wasn’t working because the water level in a garage too shallow. So firefighters dammed up the water at the sidewalk by using snow and pushed water into the street using the homeowner’s shovel.

A poke a day

Feb. 10 – At a quarter past 5 a.m., a concerned call came from a Clark Street resident: water was dripping through a first-floor ceiling. A crew member used a pike pole to penetrate the ceiling to relieve the pressure and direct the flow of water. The homeowner was advised to call a contractor to remove the snow from the roof and also to assess any interior water damage.

Smokey flavor

Feb. 10 – At a quarter ’til 8 p.m., crews were sent to a home on Birch Hill Road for smoke in the house. Since it was around dinner time, one would suspect something to do with cooking causing the incident. Sure enough; the owner forgot about the food he was cooking on the stove top.

More damned dams

Feb. 11– At a quarter ’til 8 a.m., Engine 1 cruised over to a house on Payson Terrace for a reported “small water leak” from a roof ice dam that was leaking through a light fixture. The resident was told not to use the light, and the circuit breaker was shut down to the fixture. Firefighters advised the resident to call a roofer or contractor to fix the leak and have an electrician look at the fixture before turning the circuit back on.

Another damn dam

Feb. 11 – At 5:24 p.m., units were dispatched to a multifamily on Gordon Terrace as was water was falling through the kitchen smoke detector. The firefighters removed the damaged smoke detector, and the hazard removed.

Time out, fire alarm

Feb. 11 – At just about 6:30 p.m., Engine 2, Ladder 1, and Rescue 1 were sent to the High School when the fire alarm activated. Was it smoke, fire, a leaking roof that set the alarm off? Try a basketball. As the Belmont/Lexington Girls’ Basketball match (see featured image) was underway on the ground floor of the Wenner Field House, someone in the upstairs “Little Gym” used a ball to hit the alarm with a bulls-eye of a shot. The alarm was reset, and the game resumed (which Belmont won.)

Where there’s smoke, it’s probably steam

Feb. 11 – At 9:23 p.m., Engine 1 was sent to Robin Wood Road close-by the Lexington line for the report of smoke in the area. It wasn’t smoke; it was steam vapor coming from the house.

Love stalled

On Valentine’s Day, just before 7 p.m., a crew was sent to a house on Benton Road to free an elderly resident who became trapped in a stalled elevator. They got the person out, AOK.

Belmont Fire Log: Idling Vehicle Caused CO Alarms to Sound

Locked out, the series

Feb. 2 – Just before 7:30 p.m., crews clambered to Slade Street to help a resident who locked themselves out of their home.

Water from the attic

Feb. 2 – Just after 7:30 p.m., Engine 1 took off for a York Road single family to investigate a water problem. Turns out a water leak developed in the attic and damaged not only the roof, but also knocked out a hard-wired, second-floor bedroom smoke detector. The firefighters advised the owner to contact a licensed electrician to check the wiring and contact a roof repair company. The homeowner decided to relocate her family at a local hotel for the night.

Dangerous act

Feb. 3 – A few minutes after 10 a.m., fire crews from Engine 2 and Rescue 1 were sent to a Thomas Street house after a carbon monoxide detector began sending an alarm to dispatchers. While the homeowners had just left as the fire equipment arrived, a neighbor let the companies into the house. Inside, the fire personnel did detect elevated levels of the gas. The friendly neighbor said he might know the reason for the spike in the readings: the homeowners had turned on and allowed their vehicle to idle in the attached garage.

Locked in, the series

Feb. 3 – At 20 minutes ’til 11 a.m., fire crews headed off to a location on Agassiz Avenue; a resident was locked-in a vehicle.

Long burn

Feb. 4 – Just about 4:30 p.m., firefighters were sent to check on a person in a building on Trapleo Road. They could find the person either inside or outside the dwelling, but they did discover the electric stove burner on.

Locked out, the series

Feb. 4 – At five minutes past 4:30 p.m., crews were dispatched to Garfield Road to help another resident who was locked out of their house.

Marsh gas

Feb. 5 – At a quarter ’til 6 p.m., firefighters headed out to a location on Marsh Street for a natural gas leak. A neighbor said leaking gas was an ongoing problem. It sure is; two days later, fire crews were dispatched once again to the same address for the same problem.

Solution turns into a problem

Feb. 6 – A little after 1 p.m., the entire fire force was off to a home on Shaw Road for a reported building fire. On arrival, the crews could see flames showing from the roof. As Engine 2 placed a roof ladder on the side of the house, it was discovered the heating wire meant to melt roof ice was on fire. As crews held the fire in check with a Dry-Chem extinguisher, the Ladder 1 firefighters entered the house to shut off the electricity. Once the power was off, the companies extinguished the fire and overhauled the scene. Wire inspectors responded along with the home owner to the inspect the damage.


Belmont Fire Log: Just Add a Little Stove Top Grease While Cooking

‘Nuff said.
Jan. 11 – At 10:11 a.m., fire units were sent to a Common Streeet house for an outdoor water leak. Turned out, as the official fire log reported, the problem was due to a “frozen outside cock.”
It was Sunday
Jan. 11 – Just before half past 11 a.m., members of a Belmont church’s congregation asked Belmont Rescue and Engine 1 to check on a fellow member who didn’t show up for services. Firefighters discovered the congregate had simply overslept.
Second-hand smoke alarm
Jan. 15 – Seconds before high noon, Engine 1 and Ladder 1 were sent to a business on Common Street in Cushing Square due to a fire alarm having gone off. Turns out an employee of a neighboring business had overheated his lunch in the microwave. The smoke circulated through the air vent and activated the smoke detector in the store next door.
Just add a little stove top grease
Jan. 15 – At three minutes past 5 p.m., fire crews were dispatched to Gordon Terrace for a reported kitchen fire. And it was just that; a stove top accident confined to the pot. Engine 1 disconnected power to the stove and it was red tagged for service. A possible piece of evidence: fire fighters noted a long-term, heavy buildup of grease around the top and sides of the stove. In addition, the Belmont Housing Authority was informed that the apartment’s fire alarm was not working. But the occupant said it was beeping away but she ventilated the area which caused the alarm to stop.

Belmont Fire Log: I’m Locking You Out, Mom

Where is this arc?

Jan. 4 – About an hour after midnight, Engine 2 was sent to Knox Street to investigate what was reported to be outside wires arcing. Firefighters were told by a homeowner that she saw a flash and heard popping sounds which she believed came from a street light across from her home. One neighbor reported hearing popping sounds coming from the area of Lamoine and Bellington. Belmont Light respond to the scene but couldn’t find such event.

Read the recipe

Jan. 4 – Just after 7 a.m., fire crews were off to McLean Hospital’s Admissions building for a reported cooking fire. Turned out to be a microwave set on the incorrect cooking time.

The need for private time

Jan. 4 – At a quarter ’til 2 p.m., fire department personnel were sent to a Watson Road house to “rescue” a young child who somehow locked himself in the family’s bathroom. Rather than simply kicking the door in, fire crews removed the pins on the outside of the door and extricated the mischevious toddler.

On the side

Jan 5 –  Just before 8 p.m., fire companies arrived at a house on Skahan Road to remove some aluminum siding from the structure’s roof line which had come loose in the high winds buffering the area.

Get out the mop

Jan. 7 – At about a quarter ’til 10 a.m., fire personnel were directed to a house on Hull Street for water in the basement. The culprit; a broken hose to the washing machine. Unfortunately, the amount of water was too low for the fire department’s pumps to be of any use. Turns out the homeowner was going to handle that job.

Locked out, part 1

Jan. 8 – At a quarter past 10 a.m., a fire department crew were sent to a Bartlett Avenue two family. Someone forgot their keys. Turned out that everything at the house – windows, basement doors – was locked and the woman didn’t want to risk any damage to the landlord’s house. So the BPD drove the woman over to McLean Hospital to meet her husband who had an extra set of keys.

Locked out, part 2

Jan. 8 – At 10:45 a.m., the department drove over to Elm Street where they found a woman who left her keys in the truck. As personnel were about to “pop” the entry, the woman’s husband comes along with his set of keys.

Up through the chimney

Jan. 8 – At just about 3 p.m., fire crews rushed over to a Birch Street house after heavy smoke appeared from the chimney. Turned out that the flue pipe had a bit of creosote buildup, at which time the fire department asked it to be cleaned before using again.

A personal note

On Jan. 5 at at 8:42 a.m., the editor of the Belmontonian was running very late and was about to leave his abode on Unity Avenue when the alarms started blaring. “Get out of the building. Fire” A quick look into the basement found black smoke coming from a boiler. A call to 911 was redirected to the Belmont dispatcher and the fire department arrived quickly afterwards. The crew found that it was only a boiler malfunction with the fire confined. The blew out the smoke and made sure everything was OK. I’d like to thank the Belmont Fire and Police departments for their professional manner and response.

Belmont Fire Log: Toddler and Cooking Lunch Inside, Parent Locked Outside

Gas, on and off

Dec. 1 – At half past 4 p.m., Engine 2 and Ladder 1 headed over the Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue for a reported odor of gas in the building. Engine 2 investigated and found a slight odor but not of natural gas. A library representative told the crew the odor has occurred in past and dissipated by itself. What the firefighters did find was excessive stored material around the boiler. It will be corrected, said the library rep.

“Not Dishwasher Safe”

Dec. 1 – At a quarter ’til 11 p.m., Engine 1 was sent to a house on School Street to investigate this “odor” in the kitchen. The discovered the source of the smell: some plastic dining ware which was placed in the dishwasher melted during the drying setting.

Dig Unsafe

Dec. 2 – Barely a minute past 10 a.m., Engine 1 was dispatched to a single-family house on Glenn Road for a “gas emergency.” Turns out some yard workers dug a bit too deep and cut the gas main into the home. The gas utility was called and shut down the main service to the house. Engine 1 reported normal readings for carbon dioxide throughout the abode. After the search, the gas company told the firefighters they would handle it.

Toddler and lunch from the outside looking in

Dec. 3 – At 8:24 a.m., Engine 2 took off to a single-family house on Colby Street where a two-year-old was locked inside the building. He was not just trapped, the oven was also on and there was food cooking on the stove top. Mom allowed the crew from Engine 2 to take their 24-foot ground ladder and force entry through the second-floor window. Sure, there was some minor damage the the window, sash and locking mechanism but they freed the toddler before any thing serious could have happened.

No dessert for someone

Dec. 6 – At half-past 6 p.m., a fire alarm was pulled at a restaurant in Belmont Center. Engine 2 and Ladder 1 got there in no time, only to discover a very young customer was the puller. Bon appetite.

Belmont Fire Log: Sleep-Deprived Tenant Speaks His Mind to Firefighter

The illustration is a detail from a larger piece called “Sleep Deprivation” by a great young artist Adam Murphy.

Cooking too long

Nov. 23 – At half past noon, fire companies from headquarters were dispatched to a large brick apartment building on Trapelo Road in Cushing Square after smoke was reported in a 6th-floor unit. The crew from Engine 1 broke down the door and discovered that someone left their cooking unattended. The place was ventilated.

Out of date detector 

Nov. 23 – Just about 25 minutes after the incident on Trapelo, fire units were sent to School Street for a possible gas leak. Sure enough, the alarm was buzzing away but there was no odor of gas. A firefighter from the Ladder truck discovered the device was manufactured in 2000. Turns out the average life span for that device is roughly five to seven years. The home owner was advised to replace the carbon monoxide detector.

Nothing to learn here

Nov. 24 – At 20 minutes until 6 p.m.,  Engine 1 and the Ladder truck took off to a private school on Lexington Street to investigate, what else, the reported inside odor of natural gas. Along with National Grid personnel, the crews reported normal readings throughout the building.
Sleep-deprived tenant speaks his mind

Nov. 24 – Just after 11 p.m., crews were sent to investigate an automated alarm at a building on Trapelo Road in Central Square (the area at the corner of Beech Street) with a business on the ground floor and apartments on the second. Each floor has its own fire alarm system. So this is what happened: a tenant on the second floor was hearing this slight buzzing sound coming from a building alarm horn on his floor but which was connected to the ground-floor system. It’s 11 p.m. and since he had no way of stopping the damned-thing buzzing, he pro-actively removed the horn from the wall which then set off the fire alarm panel on the first floor and hence the alarm to the fire department. While firefighters told the tenant tampering with a fire alarm system is not permitted, the tenant gave them a piece of his mind (after putting back the horn).

“I attempted to educate the tenant on the dangers of tampering with a fire alarm system but the tenant felt that I was being unreasonable,” read the report.

The owner of the building was called and made aware of the situation and assured us an electrician would be called in the morning to evaluate system.

“Now where did I leave my keys?”

Nov. 26 – A bit after 1:30 p.m., firefighters were sent to Slade Street to get a person back into their house after they locked themselves out.

What does this say about the tenant’s cooking?

Nov. 28 (Black Friday) – At a quarter ’til 5 p.m., Belmont Fire companies and Watertown Engine 2 were sent to a reported kitchen fire in a two-family on Grove Street. The apartment dweller said she set the oven on self-cleaning (it was the day after Thanksgiving) when it began to smoke. The electrical and gas services leading to the oven were shut down and the kitchen was ventilated by use of a smoke ejector. While they were there, firefighters noticed that the smoke detectors on the first floor were covered over with plastic. The tenants told the crews the detectors would sound each time they would cook a meal and they covered them to prevent a false alarm. The commander at the scene informed them of the dangers of covering the detectors and not to do so in the future. The landlord said he would replace the oven and add another detector to the first floor back hallway.