A 9/11 ceremony took place on Friday at the Wellesley Fire station on Rte. 9 to remember those lost and injured in the 2001 terrorist attacks. (Photos courtesy of Town of Wellesley).
A man drowned at Longfellow Pond in Wellesley on Monday afternoon after the canoe he and a woman were in overturned. The woman was able to get to shore safely near Standish Circle, but the man was not.
First responders from Wellesley and area communities including Cambridge and Natick attended to the scene after 9-1-1 calls started just after 4pm. Initial calls were about the overturned canoe, and then about the man possibly going under.
Dive teams recovered the man about 10 yards from shore at 5:20pm. The man was unconscious and unresponsive, and transported by paramedics to Newton-Wellesley Hospital
The victim’s name is not being released at this time. The incident is under investigation, but does not appear suspicious.
Wellesley has largely rid itself of the hard-wired fire alarm system that was marked by red boxes on poles throughout town. The Wellesley Fire Department relies now on a radio box system for municipal and commercial buildings, says Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Peterson.
But one remnant of the system is a black box on Washington Street in front of Town Hall that not only identifies itself as a fire alarm box, but a telegraph box as well. Perhaps some of the wires in it still serve some purpose for other town departments, but the Department of Public Works and Municipal Light Plant, for two, aren’t claiming any.
Wellesley is celebrating the return home of firefighter Brian Hester, who has been fighting off COVID-19 for the past 10 weeks in the hospital and at a rehab center.
Fire Chief Rick DeLorie spoke in early April about the firefighter being hospitalized (at that time unnamed), and the challenges that others in the department faced in falling ill from the new coronavirus as well (See “Wellesley firefighters cope with COVID-19 from within”).
A happy reunion was captured at the Wellesley Fire Department station on Rte. 9 Tuesday.
Hester has worked for the town since 1989 and became a firefighter in 2002.
As if there hasn’t been enough drama around Morses Pond of late, a neighbor noticed a fire on one of the pond’s islands on Friday at about 8:20pm and that set off an aquatic rescue mission.
Michelle Jacobs reports that she and her husband were socially distancing with neighbors Friday night when they saw the flames. They called the police and a friend who lives on the other side of the pond. That friend’s husband and 4 other neighbors then kayaked to the island to put out the fire.
“They truly saved the island,” Jacobs says.
The Wellesley Fire Department responded as well to what Deputy Chief Jeff Peterson referred to as a small brush fire: “It was a little more challenging as it required us to use our boat to get firefighters over to the island with equipment to extinguish the fire. No cause was found.”
While it might seem like Wellesley firefighters have had more than their fair share of action of late, fighting several significant fires over the past couple of months while also navigating COVID-19 dangers, the opportunity to hone their skills at a currently vacant building in town was an offer too good to pass up.
The Hancock Group , owner of 40 William Street at Wellesley Office Park, offered firefighters the vacant building for training. Skills worked on included managing fire in a large office area, door breaching (forcing open locked or closed doors) and more .
“The opportunity to train in a building like this is rare,” says Chuck DiGiandomenico, Deputy Chief. “Sometimes we get houses that are ready to be torn down to train on but we never get a building like this. This training gives firefighters a chance to see the building construction, building systems and fire protection in place to prevent fire spread. This building has no hose outlets (standpipes) for firefighters to use so getting hose lines to the floors of that particular building poses a challenge.”
DiGiandomenico says the department used a fire engine pumper and Tower ladder truck for the training. “The engine company practices carrying charged hose lines up stairs, through hallways and into office spaces to extinguish a fire. They do about 5 evolutions in full turnout gear and using Scott air packs. The Tower ladder truck is practicing proper placement to access the roof and certain parts of the building, then go inside and use forcible entry tools to force open office doors.”
Half the shift (9 firefighters) trains in the morning and the other half does it in the afternoon. We split up the shift so half will train in the morning and the other half will do the training in the afternoon.
And of course this COVID-19 disclaimer: “We kept the groups small to keep social distancing guidelines and when our air packs are not in use we are wearing a face covering,” DiGiandomenico says, crediting Deputy Matt Corda for putting together a good plan.
Th term “dumpster fire” gets thrown around a lot these days to refer to the various plights of those coping with COVID-19.
But now a Swellesley Report reader has shared this video of a dumpster fire at the Wellesley Recycling & Disposal Facility that closed the dump for 10-15 minutes. At least a couple of fire engines can be seen in the video.
RDF Director James Manzolini said as of 10am there were no details on what caused the fire. The main gate was closed briefly while the Wellesley Fire Department contained the situation.