Friday, October 6, 2006
Woodland Rd. house fire causes damage but no injuries
Sixteen of Carlisle's volunteer firefighters and crews from Acton and Billerica rushed to Woodland Road on Tuesday morning to put out a house fire that started as a short in the electric panel in the basement and spread through the wall of the structure. The residents, Myung Hee and Yang-Il Kim, were home, but unaware of the fire until workmen at the house noticed smoke coming from the wall and sparking of wires outside.
Delay in locating fire
The fire disabled the Kims' phone, and one of the workmen made the initial report as a 911 call on his cell phone. All 911 calls are routed to the state police office in Framingham and transferred to the local area. This delays emergency response by two or three minutes. If you must use a cell phone, the Carlisle Police recommend calling their business number: 1-978-369-1442. Because cell phone reception in that area of town is poor, it was not clear whether the fire was on Woodbine Road near the town center or on Woodland Road, which is near the Acton border. Cruisers were immediately dispatched to both locations. Fire Chief David Flannery said that a subsequent call from the homeowner verified the Woodland Road location before the fire trucks left the station. However, he said the distance of Woodland Road near the edge of town was a reason that it took 12 minutes from when Carlisle dispatchers were notified of the fire at 11:39 a.m. and the time emergency equipment arrived at the scene. That area of town does not have a good source of water, Flannery noted.
Once Carlisle fire crews were on the scene, two men with hoses went into the basement area immediately. Mutual aid was requested from Acton and Billerica Fire Departments; Hanscom Field's water tanker was also requested, but the call was cancelled as the fire was brought under control. The Westford Fire Department covered the Carlisle station during the emergency. Fighting the fire was complicated by the fact that water could not be used on the power panel which was engaged in the fire, and dry chemicals were needed. The fire spread through the walls and up to the first floor, creating a lot of smoke. The fire was under control at 12:33 p.m. and firemen waited for NStar to arrive and shut off electricity at the pole. Total damage, according to Flannery, consisted of smoke damage on two floors and some structural damage in the basement. There is no electricity at the house and therefore no water.
"A good save"
Flannery called the Fire Department's efforts to minimize damage"a good save," and praised the firemen. The homeowners called their insurer, Metropolitan Life, whose agent arrived, clipboard in hand, before the fire crews left, to help them with the situation and assist them with alternate housing plans. The Kims, who have lived in Carlisle since 1999, were unavailable for comment, but according to a neighbor, who has been able to get in touch with them, the Kims were not injured.
© 2006 The