NAHANT — Fire Chief Austin Antrim and Police Chief Timothy Furlong reports that the Nahant police officers and firefighters responded to a house fire in which residents were reported trapped inside late Thursday evening.
Firefighters responded to a single story house at 8 Maple Ave at 11:53 p.m. As fire units were responding, Nahant Police Officers on patrol in the area arrived and reported that residents were still inside the building and may be trapped. A working fire response was requested, sending a full complement of Nahant firefighters and mutual aid from surrounding communities to the scene.
The first arriving police officers, including Officer Gino Spelta, Sergeant Michael Waters, Sargent Andy Constantine and Officer Ethan Abramowitz entered the home and found an adult man, sitting in a wheelchair, trapped in the bathroom.
Officer Spelta entered the bathroom by breaking a window. Moments later, Nahant Engine 31 and Chief Antrim also arrived on scene and reported heavy fire coming from the attic.
Nahant Firefighters Frank Pappalardo and Matthew Canty from Engine 31 forced entry through the front door, carrying a hose line and made their way to the bathroom where the group of first responders carried the resident out the front door. The police officers carried the man to an arriving ambulance as the firefighters turned their attentions back to fighting the fire.
Firefighter Canty then resumed attacking the fire inside the structure as Firefighter Pappalardo moved forward into the home to search for anyone else who may be trapped inside.
Firefighter Pappalardo soon located a woman, identified as a resident, trapped in the kitchen on the floor. He and Firefighter Canty picked up the woman and carried her outside to another ambulance.
Both residents were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Firefighters from Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead responded to provide mutual aid. The fire units worked hard in a densely populated neighborhood with a narrow street to efficiently establish a water supply and evacuation route for ambulances.
One firefighter was injured when pieces of ceiling fell onto a group of firefighters. The injured firefighter was treated at the scene, refused transport and returned to fighting the fire.
In addition to the mutual aid fire units, assistance was also received from Atlantic Ambulance and Rehab 5 which provided water, lighting and other aid to first responders.
The home sustained major damage and will be uninhabitable indefinitely.
“This would have been a worse tragedy if not for the quick action by Nahant Firefighters and Nahant Police to locate and remove two residents,” said Chief Antrim. “Power strips and extension cords offer convenience, but they aren’t intended for constant use. Powering many devices at once can overload and overheat them, causing an electrical fire. Always use a cord that’s rated for the wattage of whatever you’re powering, and if you’re using an extension cord outdoors be sure it’s marked for outdoor use.”
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Nahant Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. Investigators determined that it began in the front left corner of the living room, where numerous power strips, extension cords, and electrical devices were observed.
This was the second serious fire in less than a week in Nahant. Firefighters responded to 41 Wharf St. at 3:51 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 18 for a report of a building fire. Upon arrival at the two story residential home, firefighters had heavy fire and visible damage to the structure The home was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported. The cause of the first fire has been ruled accidental.