I attended a meeting of police, bar owners, and the Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association at city hall tonight, and as I left the meeting I was chatting with Fire Chief Edward Pitta about a couple things. I told him “well, I’d better get going before I miss an actual fire or something.”
I started walking back toward my office and made it to Market and Dutton streets before I noticed what’s pictured below in the sky head of me.
I tell this story because of the ridiculous coincidence, not because I think it’s funny.
I would soon learn that firefighters were on their way to Canada Street, where Deputy Chief John Mulligan told me crews arrived to find a corrugated metal building and several shipping containers fully engulged in fire.
“It was fully engulged when we arrived,” Mulligan told me. “We couldn’t get within 20 feet.”
Reader Paul Sweeney emailed me the photo above that he took from the nearby bridge on Lincoln Street.
The corrugated metal building and storage containers were used as a shop by Tommy Tree, a family business based on Manchester Street that trims trees, digs foundations, and does other odd jobs around the area. Continue reading
Taylor Jackson, 16, of Pelham, was going to get gas in her car tonight about 7:30 p.m., when she heard what sounded like a lot of gunshots going off all at once.
She told me she thought her neighbors, who hold an annual fireworks display around the Fourth of July for family, friends, and neighbors, were probably setting off a few test shots.
“But I saw an orange, like, mushroom cloud,” Jackson told me. “I knew that couldn’t be good.”
Jackson had just heard and seen the explosion of a cache of fireworks on the back deck of her neighbor’s home at 40 Dodge Road in Pelham, where fireworks are perfectly legal.
Fire Chief James Midgley said two children, about 3- to 4-years-old, suffered life-threatening burns in the explosion. Both of those children were flown to Boston trauma centers by medical helicopters, as pictured in this entry in photos taken by Tory Germann and I.
One other child and four adults also suffered “moderate to minor” burns in the explosion, and were taken by ambulance to hospitals in Nashua and Methuen. Continue reading
The day shift in this joint was busy today.
I didn’t know until I got into the office that there was a five-alarm fire in Ayer today. My co-worker Sarah Favot has a solid story on that here, and our photo staff put together a slideshow using photos from the public and our staff.
I woke up this morning to an email from Tyngsboro Deputy Police Chief Rich Burrows, announcing that a school bus driver was arrested yesterday and charged with being drunk as he drove a bus. You can download and the press release by clicking that link.
Burrows said Police were called to Tyngsboro Road at Westford Road at 2:47 p.m., and arrived to find a small yellow school bus that had rear-ended a minivan.
Burrows said officers learned the school bus had been tailgating the minivan, and struck the minivan from behind when the minivan stopped at a red light.
There were two adult bus monitors and four students on the school bus, and the minivan, which was also a school vehicle, was carrying four students as well. No one was hurt.
The driver of the bus, Erik Paulik, 37, of Manchester, N.H., was given a field sobriety test and then charged with operating under the influence of liquor, child endangerment while operating under the influence, and failure to slow while approaching an intersection. Continue reading
Lowell Firefighters got called to 33 Bolt Street tonight at 10:58 p.m., when someone called 911 to report a structure fire.
The first crew on scene reported smoke showing, and the race was on.
The large white house at 33 Bolt Street was vacant, and surrounded by industrial properties.
There was a lot of smoke, but the only bit of visible flame was on the right side of the house, and it was quickly taken care of by the gentleman pictured below. Continue reading
The crew of the Tewksbury Fire Department’s Engine 3 was sent to 1005 Livingston Street today at 2:13 p.m., for a report of a barn fire.
Lt. Dave Carney and firefighters Robert Little and Oscar Forero arrived to find the barn fully engulfed.
Just 25 to 30 feet away from the burning barn were new condominiums. The vinal siding on those condos was already melted from the heat of the flames.
So, knowing they had a limited amount of water in their engine, where did Carney, Little and Forero aim their hoses?
At the condos, and the move drew praise from a superior officer who said a thermal imaging camera would later show the condos were about to catch fire when Engine 3 arrived and intervened. The barn was a lost cost anyway since it was already fully engulfed.
“It was a good save by Engine 3,” said Capt. Jim Bruce. “When you see that kind of fire your first idea is to put water on the barn, but training says you only have so much water, and if they didn’t immediately put water on the condos they would have caught fire.” Continue reading