House knocked off its foundation

Chelmsford Fire Capt. Hank Houle arrived at 224 Dunstable Road tonight about 7:30 and used his radio to tell dispatchers what crews were dealing with.

“I’ve got a car on the gas meter, into the electrical box, and its leaking fuel,” Houle said in a radio transmission.

A Ford Explorer driven by Derek Perry, 41, of Chelmsford, had just left Dunstable Road and knocked the white home off its foundation, according to police Lt. James Spinney. A male homeowner and two young children evacuated. They were not hurt.

All photos in this entry are by Photographer David Brow.

The home’s gas meter was destroyed, leaking, and under the Explorer. Houle asked police to evacuate bystanders and homes on both sides of the scene.

Firefighters William Amundson and Casey Phelan prepared a hose line from their fire engine and tried to shutoff the leaking gas. They made sure the home was empty.

“Our first thought was to shut the gas off immediately and pull a line,” Amundson said.

Amundson and Phelan couldn’t shut the gas off with the Explorer on the top of the meter, so firefighters Josh Abbott and John Robinson connected a chain to the Explorer, and to the SUV driven by Capt. Houle.

“We had to the get the car off the gas meter and we couldn’t push it,” Houle said. “So they hooked it up to my command vehicle and put it in 4-wheel drive and pulled it off.”

Once the Explorer was moved, firefighters were able to shutoff the gas. They opened windows and began to vent the home.

Spinney said Perry, who was driving the Explorer, was arrested at the scene and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, operating recklessly to endanger, and marked lanes violation.

The home was knocked off its foundation and had electricity and gas shutoff, so it was uninhabitable. Houle said the residents had another place to stay. It was not immediately clear how old the children who live in the home are, but there were small children’s toys inside the home.

The homeowner was still shaken at the scene and declined to immediately comment.

Perry will be arraigned on Wednesday in Lowell District Court.



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