At 2032 on April 7, the Beverly Fire Department was dispatched for a report of a building fire at 449 Cabot St. The call came from Beverly Police Officers investigating an alarm at the building. Upon arrival, fire crews observed smoke pushing from building openings and began to force entry into the secured building.
Once inside, Lieutenant Donald Philpot and Firefighter Brian Miller encountered heavy smoke and multiple obstructions, making locating the seat of the fire very difficult. As Philpot and Miller worked inside , Captain Paul Labelle and Firefighter Scott Perkins used a saw to open a hole in the roof to ventilate the building improving visibility and reducing heat inside.
With a hole in the roof and an open garage door, visibility improved for firefighters to locate the fire in a storage room at the rear of the building. The crews had to navigate through a sea of obstacles and avoid working under a vehicle that was on a lift in the garage.
When the heavy fire was knocked down, Lt. Philpot heard a hissing noise and withdrew until it could be determined if the material that was leaking was a hazard. Firefighter Jeff O’Neil and Lt Donald O’Connor entered the building and found Oxygen and Acetylene tanks used in cutting operations in the storage room. The Oxygen tank was leaking and the valve was damaged by the fire. The tank was removed to the outside and allowed to completely empty. After removing the tank, Lt Kevin Smith and FF’s Ryan Laracy, Jon Palm and Mark Brewer went back into the building and pulled ceilings and walls to uncover any hidden fire.
After Engines 1and 3 and Truck 2 were released from the scene, Fire Investigators Deputy William Walsh, Lt Eric Fowler and Lt Robert Bergeron remained on the scene to determine the cause of the fire. While the Fire Investigators worked, the crew of Truck 1 worked extensively to uncover hot embers that were buried in concealed spaces between the ceiling and the roof.
Truck 1 was clear of the scene at 0047.
Fire Investigators determined the cause of the fire to be electrical in nature.
Although the fire was quickly knocked down after firefighters arrived on scene, a delay in alarm due to a lack of detection devices allowed the fire to grow undetected. Due to the nature of the work performed, a lack of detection devices is not uncommon.
Firefighter Jon Palm suffered a minor foot injury while working at the scene which forced the business to remain closed until repairs can be made.