Eric Smith, Fire Chief
8 School St.
Gloucester, MA 01930
For Immediate Release
Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Gloucester Fire Department Extinguishes Kitchen Fire
GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith Reports that the Gloucester Fire Department extinguished a one-alarm kitchen fire at the George W. McPherson Park housing complex last night.
On Friday, Aug. 18, at 9:40 p.m., the Gloucester Fire Department received a report of an activated fire alarm at an apartment on 31 Prospect St. (McPherson Park).
Upon arrival, firefighters were met with a working fire, with heavy smoke and extreme heat in a fourth floor apartment, room 413. The upper floors were also filling with smoke. Several occupants were evacuating themselves from the six-story building.
First arriving crews used portable fire extinguishers in an attempt to keep the fire at bay while additional firefighters stretched hose lines into the apartment. A search of the apartment revealed that it was unoccupied.
While all crews from Gloucester’s Headquarters Station worked on putting out the fire, firefighters from the West Gloucester Station supplied water to the attack lines from a hydrant on Prospect Street.
Additional crews from the Bay View and Magnolia stations searched the hallways for residents. Approximately a dozen people were assisted out of the building’s hallways into fresh air where ambulances crews from Beauport and Rockport evaluated them.
One resident was rescued by firefighters from Apartment 420 and transported to an area hospital via ambulance after she fell in her apartment while trying to exit. No other injuries were reported.
The fire was brought under control in about 10 minutes, but crews spent another 90 minutes overhauling the apartment’s walls and ceiling, checking for extension and venting smoke.
Crews remained on scene for more than three hours assisting the Housing Authority, which manages the elderly housing complex, with clearing the hallways of water and debris and helping evacuated residents back into their apartments. Firefighters stayed on site through the night as the building’s fire alarm system and elevator were rendered inoperable by the fire.
Damage from the fire was confined to Apartment 413, which is uninhabitable. Several apartments on the second through sixth floors sustained heat and smoke damage. A preliminary estimate to damage is estimated around $100,000.
“The firefighters did their jobs well containing this fire to one apartment,” Chief Smith said. “If not for their quick action, this could have been much worse.”
During the incident, the Essex and Rockport Fire Departments provided station coverage.
Following an investigation, the Gloucester Fire Department determined the cause of the fire in Apartment 413 to be unintentional. The occupant had food cooking on the stove and then left the apartment to go to the grocery store. He returned to find firefighters battling the blaze in his apartment.