Belmont Fire Log: Monkey Business at McLean

Left on the stove top

Aug. 17 – Right at 7 p.m., Engines 1 and 2, the Ladder truck and Rescue 1 were sent to an apartment complex at 655 Trapelo Rd. for a reported fire. It turned out to be food left to cook a bit too long.

Leaving the stove top on

Aug. 19 – At a quarter ’til 11 p.m., Engine 1 and Ladder 1 were sent to a multi-family on Thingvalla Avenue for a gas leak. Turned out that someone left the stove top on so it smelled a bit gassy.

Forgot your keys?

Aug. 20 – At a quarter until 10 a.m., firefighters were sent to Clyde Street to help a resident who was locked out of his home.

Not mulch of a problem

Aug. 20 – At 1:22 p.m., Engine 2 traveled to the corner of Blanchard Road and Concord Avenue for a grass fire. In fact, it was a “small” mulch fire in the island between the east and wet bound lanes of Concord Avenue. It was put out.

McLean monkey business

Aug. 22 – Fire crews were sent to McLean Hospital off Mill Street for a possible biological hazard after a hospital employee pulled the fire alarm after smelling what was describe as a “rotten egg” odor that could be detected on all four floors of the effected building including the basement hallways and tunnels.

In conducting their investigation, firefighters determined the odor came from the work a plumber was performing using a chemical to unclog a floor drain in a laboratory where the primates are held.

Belmont Fire Log: ‘Friendly’ Fire and How to Cut a Gas Line

Under a “friendly” fire
Aug. 3: A minute before 3 p.m., Engine 1 was sent to the corner of Beech Street and Wilson Avenue for a report of smoke in the area. The fire crew found a “friendly” fire – BBQ – in rear of a Beech Street house. The homeowner was told if excessive smoke not controlled then it needs to be extinguish.

Cut gas line 
Aug. 4: Engine 1 was sent to the corner of Hawthorne Street and Trapelo Road just four minutes before 4 p.m. to investigate the gas leak. Once at the location, the firefighters staged up-wind across from Sycamore Street where they met a road construction crew which admitted that they “accidentally” severed a gas line. The fire crew could see the cut gas line and could see the gas venting into the air. They soon went door-to-door to check building for any build-up of gas inside the structures. The fire command requested Belmont Police to re-direct traffic flow away from the hazard. The gas company, National Grid, arrived on scene and soon controlled the flow of gas. While they were at the scene, the crew pointed out to a Trapelo Road landlord the old cigarette butts in back hallway and the excess storage in his basement.
The wall came tumbling down
Aug. 6: A quarter past 7 a.m., a fire crew took off to the corner of Brighton and Cross streets for a possible gas leak coming from a Belmont Water Department trench which had a 16-inch gas line and an abandoned 6-inch gas line they dug to fix a water leak. Department workers noted that a part of the trench wall had collapse since they last worked on it exposing an opening in the 6-inch gas line. But once the department workers removed one of the two plates covering the trench, the gas could not be detected. National Grid responded and their representative informed of the on-scene condition by the Fire and Water departments.
Oops, we did it again
Aug. 7: At 9:23 a.m., Engine 2 was sent to a location on Concord Avenue due to an outside odor of gas. On arrival, the crew talked to Feeney Construction personnel that were on site and they said they accidentally ruptured a 3-inch gas line. National Grid was on the scene and and shut down the gas supply prior.
Smoke-like flavor
Aug. 8: About a quarter past 3 p.m., all companies and a Watertown Fire Department engine were dispatched to Eastern Lamejun Bakers on Belmont Street for smoke in the basement. The Engine 1 crew entered the building where they discovered an overheated conveyor motor located in the basement. The bakery’s staff used a chemical extinguisher to put out the fire prior to the department’s arrival. The motorized unit was shut down by Engine 1 and the residual smoke was vented by natural means. The conveyor was red tagged and the property representative was informed not to operate the unit until it has been serviced by a licensed technician.

Beech Lot Closed: Parking Area Resurfaced This Week

Most people know the Beech Street Center as the home of the Council of Aging, where events and concerts take place and, for one day, a center of attention on election day 2012.

It is also known for a number of the neighbors as a place to stash their cars overnight.

But beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 13 and running through Sunday, Aug. 17, the lot will be closed so the parking area can be resurfaced for the upcoming winter season.

Belmont Police wants to public to know that any vehicles left on the site after 11 p.m, on Wednesday will be towed.

Belmont Light Reminds Residents Summer is Outage Season

Belmont Light wants to remind its customers that strong wind and rain events, like those that often occur throughout the summer, may lead to electric power outages.

Its reminder comes following a stormy July 4th weekend during which Light crews were busy restoring service to local residents who were left without power in the aftermath of heavy downpours and stiff winds.

According to Belmont Light Operations Manager Ed Crisafi, several outages occurred prior to and throughout the holiday weekend, beginning during the evening hours of July 3, continuing into the following day, and happening again at the end of the weekend.

Crisafi said the longest outage on both days lasted only about an hour and a half.

“We were able to quickly restore power to those affected on Thursday evening, with cleanup efforts occurring during the early morning hours of July 4th,” Crisafi reported.

He added that, “because our staff was on hand and working so effectively, we were very well prepared when Hurricane Arthur passed to our east later in the day on the 4th.”

A separate event related to an underground cable caused outages on Saturday, but all permanent repairs were resolved by Monday evening.

Belmont Light General Manager James Palmer attributed the swift resolution of the outages to the reliability and dedication of town employees.

“Once again, our crews, public safety, and public works did a great job,” he stated.

Palmer went on to say that while weather-related outages are inconvenient, they should be anticipated—especially during hurricane season. Belmont Light customers should be prepared for severe weather during summer months by taking the following precautionary steps:

Prior to an Outage

  • Make sure you have enough emergency supplies on hand in case you are without power for an extended period of time.
  • Have plenty of fresh batteries and flashlights; don’t use candles during a power outage unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use a portable, battery-powered radio and/or television to be aware of any updates.
  • Get a wind-up or battery-powered clock.
  • Stock up on nonperishable food and plenty of bottled water.
  • Keep cash on hand, ATMs may not work when the power is out.
  • Make sure that everyone knows how to manually open and close any electric security or garage doors.
  • Protect electric equipment, such as computers, FAX machines, televisions, DVD and Blu- ray players and microwaves, by installing surge suppressors or other power protection (smart strip) devices.
  • Have a battery back-up system if your smoke alarms are wired to your home’s electrical system.
  • Have an emergency plan in place if a member of your household depends on life-support or needs other medical equipment. This may include a back-up power source or transportation to another facility.
  • Know how your gas appliances operate. Appliances with electronic ignitions will not work because electricity is needed to ignite the natural gas. Appliances that require fans or other electric devices to run – such as central heating units and gas clothes dryers – won’t work.
  • If a storm is expected, make sure your cell phone, laptop computers and tablet devices are charged.

During an Outage

  • Don’t call 911 to ask about the power outage. Check the neighborhood to see if everyone is without power and then call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800 to report the outage.
  • Stay indoors, but if you do need to go out, use extreme caution, especially on roads without working traffic signals. Be cautious of any downed power lines – they may be live.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
  • Never use your gas grill or charcoal grill indoors for cooking.
  • Shut-off any electronic equipment that was operating when the power went off.
  • Shut-off all your major electric appliances to stabilize the electric system when power is restored.
  • If the power is still on when you go to bed, shut-off electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, DVD/VCRs, microwaves and fax machines.
  • Leave one light on so you know when power is restored.
  • Belmont Light crews will be out in force to restore power as quickly and safely as possible which may not be until the storm has passed.

When Power is Restored

  • Wait a few minutes before turning on major electric appliances. This will help eliminate problems that could occur if there’s a surge in demand immediately after power is restored.
  • If you think that electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800.

If You Own a Generator

  • Never plug a generator into any electric outlets. Generators can feed electricity back into the power lines, causing dangerous conditions for our repair crews. You could damage your appliances or your neighbors’ appliances.

Should you experience an outage, please call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800.

Belmont Fire Log: Humming Sound Brings Out the Crew

Defective part spoils dinner
July 20 just before 3:30 p.m., Engine 1 was sent to Longmeadow Road where a backyard chef could not close the valve on the propane tank of his grill. Fire crews successfully disconnected the tank from the grill without creating a leak. The cook was advised to exchange the faulty tank for a new one and notify the dealer of the malfunctioning valve.

Ummmmm, it’s nothing

On July 21 at a few minutes before noon, a crew from Engine 2 arrived at a two-family on Whitcomb Street to investigate what residents called a “humming” sound in the building. Checking all the household appliances and utilities that could create a “humming” sound, the company were unable to hear any “abnormal” sounds.

And there will be … fire

On July 21 at 8:22 p.m. firefighters arrived at a Clifton Street house for a reported “smoking driveway gate.” The homeowner told the arriving company that some debris had got caught under the lens of a landscape lighting which caught fire. She removed the offending debris and put out the blaze herself.

Smoker’s butt likely culprit 

On July 25 at a quarter past 2 p.m., an employee at the Starbucks Coffee in Cushing Square noticed that a small fire had erupted in the mulch near the establishment’s front door. The crew from Engine 1 brought the smoldering brush under control. The location is a favorite haunt for smokers to puff away before entering the store.


Residents Turned-In 67 Firearms at Gun Buyback Saturday

A total of 62 guns were turned into the Belmont Police during the town’s first gun buyback event held this past Saturday, May 31, according to Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said a variety of firearms were accepted including, rifles, shotguns, pistols and a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun.

Officers are investigating the possibility that two firearms were previously reported as stolen.

Belmont Police, in partnership with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, Belmont Religious Council and individual Belmont houses of worship, held the event – which took place at the town’s DPW Yard on C Street – to allow Belmont residents a safe way to dispose of unwanted firearms and ammunition.

All firearms turned in at the gun buyback were turned over to the Massachusetts State Police to be destroyed.

Gift cards to local grocery stores were exchanged for the firearms from donations made by residents, local businesses and houses of worship including the Belmont Religious Council which raised nearly $5,000. Approximately $2,600 in left over grocery gift cards will be donated to the Belmont Food Pantry.

“This event demonstrates the accomplishments that can be achieved when members of the community and law enforcement partner together to work towards a common goal,” said McLaughlin.

“Reducing the number of unwanted firearms in the community addresses important public safety and public health issues,” said Jean Dickenson chair and founder of the Belmont Gun Buyback Committee, also thanking the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Police Department, members of the Gun Buyback Committee, individual faith communities and local businesses and individuals who supported the program.

The Belmont houses of worship co-sponsoring the event included All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, Beth-El Temple Center, First Baptist Church of Belmont, The First Church in Belmont, UU, Plymouth Congregational Church and St. Joseph & St. Luke Collaborative Parishes.

“With more than 31,000 fatalities and 74,000 firearms-related injuries across the country each year, giving residents a way to safely dispose of these unwanted firearms makes all our communities safer,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian.

If residents have questions regarding the gun Buyback Program or would like information on what to do with unwanted and unused firearms and ammunition please contact Belmont Police Lt. Kristin Daley at 617-993-2554 or via email at

Fundraising Site Established for Victims of the Marlboro Street Fire

A Fundly account (that is an online fundraising site) has been established for the victims of the Marlboro Street fire who were left homeless and without belongings from the blaze that took place just after midnight, Wednesday, May 21.

“Please donate to help our neighbors get back on their feet,” reads the message on the web site.

According to a message on the web page which was created by Daniel Parmer:

“The 9 (sic) residents escaped without injury, with nothing but the clothes on their back and no insurance to help recover what was lost. We are reaching out to our neighbors and the Greater Boston community to request your generous contribution to this fund. Donations will be distributed solely and equally amongst the displaced tenants to help them purchase essentials, find a new place to live, and begin to restore their lives.”

“We are the Belmont Corner Neighborhood Association and we believe it is our responsibility to help the members of our community. Please join us in supporting our neighbors.”

Marlboro Street Triple-Decker Destroyed in Three-Alarm Blaze

A three-alarm fire that began just after midnight in a triple-decker at 58 Marlboro St. destroyed the century-old structure leaving the owner and two sets of tenants homeless, according to Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.

The nine residents of the building escaped the blaze uninjured.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and is under investigation, said Frizzell.

A 911 call came into BFD headquarters at 12:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 21, for a fire at the address near the Cambridge town line and Belmont Cemetery, Frizzell told the Belmontonian at the scene.

The blaze quickly turned into a inferno in the rear of the 3,850 square-foot building built in 1900 with heat so hot it melted the vinyl-siding of the house with the adjoining backyard and started fires in the adjacent structures.

At the height of the incident, seven engines and three ladder trucks fought the fire that was finally under control at 2:45 a.m.

“And we are still chasing hot spots now,” said Frizzell at 5:45 a.m.

The structure, in which the rear section has essentially burned away, “is a complete loss. There’s nothing that can be salvaged,” he noted.

Mutual aid in the form of fire apparatus from Cambridge and Watertown helped fight the blaze while Newton, Winchester and Somerville fire departments covered Belmont during the fire.

In addition, five private vehicles were destroyed in the flames.

“This was a pretty big fire,” said Frizzell who was still at the site this morning.

Middlesex DA Contributes to Hometown’s After Graduation Party

Middlesex County District Attorney (and Belmont resident) Marian Ryan came by Belmont High School Friday, May 16, to contribute to funding a substance-free, after-prom and graduation party for seniors.

Belmont and 11 other school districts applied for and received $500 from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to help defray expenses associated with all-night after-graduation parties, senior picnics and a graduation cruise hosted by these schools.

“We want it to be marked by wonderful celebrations and terrific memories that will last a lifetime, not by a preventable tragedy,” said Ryan. “We support our schools’ efforts to organize substance-free post-prom and graduation events to ensure everyone has a happy and safe time as they celebrate this important milestone and all that they have accomplished.”

And it’s not too late to join Ryan and contribute to the all-night party. Funding for the party comes primarily from donations from junior and senior class families. This funding allows us to keep the ticket price for the party affordable and within reach for every graduating student. 

Please consider donating today by going to the brand new All Night Party website or by sending a check to: All Night Party Committee, 73 Fairmont Street, Belmont MA 02478.

Belmont Police Release Information on Level 3 Sex Offender

According to state requirements on community notification, the Belmont Police Department has released information on Belmont’s only Level 3 sex offender.

“[R]egistered sex offender and Belmont resident Carl Peterson is moving to 108 Clark Lane,” read the announcement released April 30.

Peterson and his family currently reside on Barnard Road. 

According to additional information provided by Belmont Police, it appears Peterson will be working from home. 

“This offender is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed on him by the court,” the announcement said. “This notification is not intended to increase fear in the community. It is the belief of law enforcement that an informed public is a safe public.”

According to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board, a level 3 classification is placed on an individual who the Board has determined in which “the risk of reoffense is high and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active dissemination.”

Last September, Peterson made headlines across the country when he suddenly spoke about his status and the fear he brought to Belmont at a community forum held by police and county law enforcement officials when it was learned that Peterson had become a resident.