Between April 1 and April 14, the Harvard Fire Department responded to one brush fire, two traffic accidents, one automatic alarm, one report of smoke in the air after burning hours, one officer investigation, and one hazmat incident. Chief Rick Sicard completed 11 smoke/carbon monoxide detector inspections, one oil burner inspection, and one propane tank inspection.
Saturday, April 1
The April Fools’ Day snowstorm resulted in several accidents and calls for the Fire Department. At 7:44 a.m. both the Harvard and Littleton departments were dispatched to a one-car accident on Route 2 eastbound, east of exit 38. Nine firefighters reported to the station; four firefighters responded to the accident in Engine 2 and five waited at the station. While en route to the accident scene, the Harvard firefighters found a second accident in the westbound lanes with air bags deployed. The Harvard firefighters asked dispatch to direct Littleton firefighters to the first accident while Harvard responded to the westbound accident. Harvard’s crew reversed direction at Taylor Road and arrived at the accident to discover a second car involved. The crew parked Engine 2 in the high-speed lane to protect the passengers and vehicles involved in the accident. As they were evaluating the scene, the firefighters saw a third car approaching that slid into the guardrail; the firefighters got behind the guardrail for safety (and put into practice their March 22 training on traffic accident scene safety). The firefighters guided the cars to the breakdown lane to open up the road for traffic. All three cars had minor damage and were towed; all three drivers refused medical treatment.
At 7:21 p.m. the Fire Department was called to the Ayer Road commercial district for an automatic smoke alarm indicating smoke on the second floor. Nine firefighters responded in Engine 1, Engine 2, and Tower 1. The department checked the roof heating and cooling units and used the thermal-imaging camera to check for hot spots on the first and second floors. No signs of fire were found. The firefighters reset the alarm panels, waited to confirm the alarm did not sound again, secured the building, and returned to the station at 8:45 p.m.
Sunday, April 9
An officer responded to a 2 p.m. call for “smoke in the air” in the vicinity of Mill Road. The officer found that a homeowner on Ayer Road was in the process of extinguishing a permitted burn; the smoke increased as the homeowner dowsed the fire. Later Sunday evening, at 6:49 p.m., the department was again called for “smoke in the air” in the vicinity of Littleton and Whitney roads almost three hours after permitted fires must be extinguished. Six firefighters in Engine 3, the forestry truck, and the tanker drove through the area. They found a still-smoldering fire on Littleton Road where a burn permit had been activated earlier in the day. The crew helped the homeowner extinguish the fire.
Monday, April 10
Lt. Greg Harrod saw smoke over Still River village as he was driving through just before 4 p.m. A homeowner was burning brush, the wind picked up, and the fire spread. Eleven firefighters responded in Engine 2, Engine 3 (which has four-wheel drive and can go across fields), the tanker, and the forestry truck (which can also go off-road). The firefighters ran 200 feet of 2-inch hose from the tanker to the forestry truck and used the forestry truck’s 200 feet of 1.5-inch brush hoses on each side of the forestry vehicle to deliver more than 800 gallons of water onto the brush fire. Approximately three-quarters of an acre burned before the department extinguished the fire. The field was scrub—brambles and bushes—not grass. No buildings were involved. The firefighters were back at the station at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 11
At 4:43 p.m. the department received a call for a hazmat cleanup: A car was stopped on the side of Ayer Road just off Route 2 and was thought to be leaking oil. Seven firefighters responded to the call; three waited at the station while four went to the scene with Engine 2. They found a half-gallon of motor oil pooled under the vehicle; the crew used an oil absorbent to clean the spill. The car was towed.
Wednesday, April 12
Wednesday night’s training focused on ropes and knots. Firefighters first practiced how to secure tools when raising them to a second floor. Training then focused on using the department’s Stokes basket (a litter used in search and rescue) to carry a victim. The crew reviewed securing a victim in the basket, and they set up a pulley system to move the basket up and down the hill behind the station. Chief Sicard volunteered his services as victim.
FIRE DEPARTMENT FACTOID
Harvard resident Andrew Miller was made a full-time firefighter at the squad’s April 12 meeting and was given his black helmet. Miller graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in March.
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.