Between March 1 and March 17, the Harvard Fire Department responded to one house fire, one possible structure fire, one possible brush fire, and one automobile accident, as well as providing mutual aid to Bolton and assisting the ambulance crew and DPW. Chief Rick Sicard completed four smoke/carbon monoxide detector inspections, two oil burner inspections, one farm labor camp inspection, and one sprinkler plan inspection for a new building.
Saturday, March 4
The Fire Department responded to a report of smoke and a possible brush fire in Still River (as reported in the March 10 Police Log). Nine firefighters, Engine 3, Tower 1, and the forestry truck explored all the Still River roads, smelled smoke, and finally saw smoke rising over the South Post at Fort Devens. When they called the South Post to alert personnel there, they were told the fire was under control. According to an Army spokesman, an incendiary device will occasionally ignite leaves during artillery practice, which is what happened that day. The fire was extinguished fairly quickly, he said.
Thursday, March 9
Nine firefighters responded to a structure fire on Old Littleton Road with Engines 1 and 2 and the tanker. A homeowner had placed an ash bucket on his deck 48 hours earlier; strong winds blew the bucket over, the ash rekindled, and the porch caught fire. The homeowner extinguished the fire; the firefighters used thermal-imaging equipment to make sure there were no additional hot spots. The firefighters told the homeowner that ash buckets have caused several incidents in town.
Sunday, March 12
The Harvard Fire Department provided mutual aid to the Bolton Fire Department while the Bolton department fought a chimney fire that became a house fire. Five Harvard firefighters took Engine 4 (the water supply truck) to the Bolton fire station to provide coverage there. Five additional Harvard firefighters staffed the Harvard fire station, ready to take additional equipment to Bolton if needed or to respond to a call in Harvard. The firefighters were out of town for two hours.
Tuesday, March 14
The Fire Department was kept busy during winter storm Stella. In preparation for the storm, the department staffed two shifts at the fire station, from morning to midnight, four firefighters per shift. By having firefighters at the station, the Fire Department can respond quickly to a call when driving conditions slow response time. At 1 p.m., three firefighters helped the ambulance crew at a house call by clearing a path to the house so that first responders could get the patient to the ambulance. And later in the afternoon, three firefighters helped DPW to clear a downed tree on East Bare Hill Road, freeing DPW to continue plowing.
Wednesday, March 15
Training, 7 to 10 p.m. Ten firefighters practiced and were certified to drive the forestry truck with an attached trailer.
Friday, March 17
At 4:10 p.m. Engine 2 responded to a motor vehicle accident on Route 2 east between Jackson Road and Route 111. The Nashoba Valley Regional Emergency Communications Center sent the Harvard and Lancaster Fire Departments simultaneously; Lancaster arrived first, so Harvard’s Engine 2 returned to the station. At 6:28 p.m. custodial staff at the Bromfield School reported smoke and an odor coming from the boiler room. Police cleared the building; when Engines 1 and 2 and Tower 1 arrived, the 11 firefighters checked the building with thermal-imaging equipment but found no evidence of fire. Blowback from the boiler was the suspected cause, and the Fire Department recommended that the boiler be serviced.
FIRE DEPARTMENT FACTOID
Open air brush burning is allowed in Harvard until May 1. Residents can get a permit online or at Town Hall and must activate it the morning they burn by going online to www.massfire.net/brush/harvard.php or calling 978-456-1212 between 9 a.m. and noon. The most important factor, said Lt. Bill Barton, is good judgment because wind conditions vary across town: “If you have any concerns about your fire, call 911 first and worry later; smaller fires are easier to put out.”.
The Fire Department Log is written every other week by a Harvard Press reporter based on information gleaned from daily logs and interviews with Fire Department staff.