The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 18, 2003


Firemen battle two-alarm house fire on Judy Farm Road

Firefighters from Carlisle and surrounding towns brought the Judy Farm Road house fire under control within ten minutes of arrival. (Photo by Cynthia Gatti)

The east end of Bob and Robin Pernice's house was on fire and tongues of flame were showing from the windows when Carlisle's firefighters arrived at the burning structure on Judy Farm Road, eight minutes after receiving the alarm at 3:49 p.m. on June 28. The police patrol had reported the fire when they investigated an abandoned 911 call and saw flames coming from the house. It was a fast fire and a hot fire on one of the hottest days of the year. It was a big fire and almost immediately became a two-alarm blaze. Mutual aid came from the towns of Bedford, Westford and Concord, as well as the tanker truck from Hanscom Field, to assist the three engines and ladder truck from Carlisle. Their combined efforts brought the fire under control within ten minutes, but it was over five hours later when the last of Carlisle's firefighters got back to the fire station. ALS was at the scene, but the only injury was a minor cut sustained by Bob Pernice.

Recent fire training paid off

Fire Chief Dave Flannery said the volunteer crew was "awesome" in the speed and efficiency of their response. He thinks no small part of this was due to their regular drills and the recent all-day training exercise on Lowell Street(see Mosquito, May 23, p. 1) where crews of volunteers practiced putting out a house fire and laying hose to a neighboring creek for a water supply. Homeowner Bob Pernice said he "had nothing but praise" for the persons that came to help and expressed appreciation for "the people who came out of the woodwork to support us."

The state fire marshal's office has not yet released the report of their investigation and Flannery's guess is that it was probably an electrical fire. Pernice said, in a phone interview, that the extent of the damage is as yet undetermined.

One eyewitness account was furnished by neighbor Paul Gill, who heard the sirens next door and went to investigate. He went up his neighbor's driveway and saw "smoke and flame and water coming down the drive." While he was there, Flannery spotted him and asked him to take the Pernice's Dalmation, Carmel, away from the scene. Holding Carmel by the collar, Gill took him up Judy Farm Road to his own home, where the dog is still a resident.

Flannery reiterated his statement that Carlisle's on-call firemen, some of whom are new, were able to function efficiently in the heat and confusion because of their recent practice with a similar training fire. He also had some advice for anyone reporting a fire: call 911 immediately and stay on the phone until the call is completed. The time it takes a cruiser to come and investigate an abandoned 911 call is time better spent fighting the fire.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito