Sitting in his wheelchair, Antonio Pickens, a 12-year veteran of the Milton fire department calmly received a Medal of Valor for from Gov. Deval Patrick, using his uninjured left hand to shake hands.
Pickens was critically injured after he was hit by a drunk driver while on duty to help a car crash in 2007. Pickens suffered massive trauma to his body and head and has endured one and a half years of rigorous therapies.
Pickens was among two dozen South Shore firefighters from Hull, Milton, Rockland, and Stoughton were among the 107 heroes honored for their bravery Wednesday at the 19th annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony.
Patrick attended the Faneuil Hall event to celebrate “the special act of heroism” of firefighters.
Patrick said their duty is honorable and great, and the memory of firefighters’ sacrifice endures.
Pickens said he felt very nice to get the unexpected honor in a phone interview after the ceremony.
Malcolm Larson, Pickens’ fellow firefighter who was with him when the accident happened said it is an example of firefighters facing dangerous situation even things seem to be routine like a motor vehicle accident.
“It’s a tremendous annual event to recognize the sacrifices and brave things the firefighters do every day in Massachusetts,” said Larson.
Hull’s Deputy Chief Christopher Russo and firefighter John King were awarded Individual Meritorious Conduct for saving five kayakers in September, 2007.
“On this particular day, we had a good outcome,” said Russo.
Russo said they could have had five casualties, but instead they got five rescues.
Sue Lena Thompson, one of the five saved, attended the ceremony.
“It’s quite moving,” said Thompson. “I love them.”
The Rockland and Stoughton departments received the Group Meritorious Conduct. Rockland was honored for pulling a woman from a propane gas tank explosion; Stoughton’s department received the award for saving a trapped victim under a slab of concrete.
“The guys had courage to go back in and search again,” said Rockland Deputy Fire Chief Bill Ferguson. “That’s basically why we were given the award.”
Captain Donald Jasmin from Stoughton Fire Department said the difficulty of the rescue added meaning to the honor.
“It’s a terrific feeling,” said “But it’s not just for me. It’s also about the entire group.”
This year’s Fire Marshal Award was given to James Shannon, president of National Fire Protection Association, a Quincy-based international nonprofit organization aims to reduce the worldwide burden of fire.
Shannon coordinated the work of the Coalition for Fire Save Cigarettes, which was instrumental in passing the Fire Safe Cigarette law in the Commonwealth and many other states.
State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires nationally as well as in Massachusetts, but soon more than 80 percent of Americans will be protected by similar legislation.
“This will have an impact on reducing the number of people who die in fires,” said Coan.
Photo courtesy of Pat Travers, www,NEFirePhoto.com
Car Hits House; Driver Charged With OUI
Last Edited: Saturday, 22 Nov 2008, 10:09 PM EST
Created: Saturday, 22 Nov 2008, 4:34 PM EST
Click for Fox 25 News Video A driver veered off the road into a house shortly after midnight Saturday, police said.
ROCKLAND, Mass. -- A driver veered off the road into a house shortly after midnight Saturday, police said.
Police said Christine Delano, 55, of Halifax, was drunk behind the wheel of a 2004 Hyundai SUV with her 6-year-old daughter, and a 25-year-old passenger inside.
Police said Delano crossed the center lane and swerved into a stone wall outside of the house on Beech Street. The impact sent stones flying into the house, and the car came to a stop with the front of the car, up to the windshield, inside of the house.
Delano was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, child endangerment while under the influence of alcohol, operating a motor vehicle to endanger and marked lanes violation.
Delano and passengers were taken to South Shore Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
6 Rockland firefighters to be honored for rescue try
By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Nov 22, 2008 @ 01:00 AM
Six members of the Rockland Fire Department will be honored by the state for their roles in the attempted rescue of a Weymouth police dispatcher killed in a house fire.
Deputy Chief William Ferguson, Lt. Donald Hussey and Firefighters Thomas Heaney, Michael Tracy, Michael Mullen and Thomas Henderson will be given the Meritorious Group Award at the state’s annual Firefighter of the Year award ceremony on Dec. 3 at Faneuil Hall.
The presenting will be done by Gov. Deval Patrick, state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Secretary of Public Safety Kevin Burke.
The award is given for “exceptional acts of heroism.”
The Rockland firefighters were nominated for the award for their responses to the Jan. 23 fire that took the life of Weymouth Police Department dispatcher Kerrin M. Kelly-Nelson, 42.
Kelly-Nelson, who had a daughter serving in the Army in Iraq, was unconscious when the firefighters pulled her from the second floor of her burning house at 248 Centre Ave. She was later pronounced dead at Brockton Hospital.
Hussey, Heaney and Tracy entered the house through the kitchen but had to flee when a propane tank, wedged into a burning gas oven, exploded seconds later, filling the kitchen with fire.
One firefighter got out through a window. The other two rushed back out through the kitchen door.
Although they were injured, Hussey, Heaney and Tracy ran back into the house and found Kelly-Nelson in a second-floor bedroom. A neighbor said rescue workers then tried to revive Nelson with CPR for several minutes.
According to Fire Chief J. Michael Sammon, the fire still remains under investigation.
Photos courtesy of Pat Travers (www.NEFirePhoto.com) and Jim Hudson, Fire Department Intern- Photo Division
Man injured when his Jeep crashes into garage
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 07:15 AM
A man was injured when his vehicle crashed through a backyard fence and into a garage.
The man, whose name was not released, was taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth with head injuries, Rockland Fire Capt. Scott Duffey said.
Duffey said that the accident happened at about 9:42 p.m. Wednesday in the back yard of 28 Pacific St.
The garage collapsed on the vehicle and firefighters had to crawl into the wreckage to pull the man out through the driver side door.
Duffey said that the man was driving a Jeep SUV on Webster Street when the vehicle crossed Union Street, went through a parking lot, through a fence and crashed into the back side of a one-car detached garage next to a podiatrist’s office.
The man was conscious when rescue workers reached him, Duffey said.
“We go into buildings to help people. When we get trapped we have no one to call on but ourselves,” said Marc Oshry, a firefighter/paramedic at the Rockland Fire Dept.
Oshry is one of many members of the fire department who’s been undergoing emergency training this week.
They’ve been learning how to save themselves from smoke and fire, in emergency situations such as malfunctioning or damaged equipment.
“You have to remember the gear that we have on us, we probably double the weight of a civilian we might rescue,” deputy Bill Ferguson said last week.
“So it’s different tactics trying to get one of these guys out. But having these skills, we can apply them to trying to get a civilian out. It improves our rescue capabilities.”
Oshry and other firefighters hung from ropes, climbed ladders and crawled through boards as part of a Rapid Intervention training seminar, a program that was paid for by a $135,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Oshry co-wrote the grant with fellow Rockland firefighter/paramedic Charles Williams.
“The grant itself was for a number of different things,” Oshry said. “We were able to do the Rapid Intervention program for all of our firefighters, so they can save themselves. It was to get people to cover for us while we were training. We would never be able to do this training while on shift because we got entangled into props. We’re diving on ropes. We never would have been able to go off on a call and go into the public.”
Oshry said the grant also covered a variety of tools such as Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) packs, which are air bottles that firefighters wear on their backs to buy time that might allow a firefighter to escape.
The grant also covered personal tools such as wire cutters so the firefighters could free themselves if they were to become trapped.
A large portion of the grant was used to purchase an air compressor for the Rockland Fire Station so firefighters can fill their RIT packs in their own town. Previously the firefighters had to report to fire stations in neighboring communities to fill the bottles.
“It would take men away from their shift to do that,” Oshry said. “Now we can just do it right here, saving time and manpower.”
Rapid Intervention training started Sept. 22 and will be held through Oct. 6 at the Rockland Fire Station as well as the Barnstable Fire Academy, and was available to all full-time members of the Rockland Fire Department.
Rapid Intervention teaches firefighters to recognize hazards, keep safe and know their equipment
“This is training that [ensures] we know how to rescue our own people,” Ferguson said. “It’s intensive training. It’s teaching skills and techniques for firefighters that are down or trapped.”
The program included in-depth classroom instruction as well as training with ladders, air masks and how to conduct a large area search.
There were also rescue drills from high storage areas where firefighters might be caught, and other drills carried out under live fire and smoke conditions.
Firefighters also used the Codman building on Plain Street on to practice rescue and bail out drills.
“It’s being renovated to apartment buildings,” Fire Chief Michael Sammon said Wednesday.
“They’re in the process of doing that now, but they gave us a wing of that building to use. It was to simulate a firefighter being trapped in a building and finding his way out.”
This is the third grant the Rockland Fire Department has received, totaling more than $550,000 in the past few years, Oshri said.
These state-aid grants assisted the town in purchasing a new fire engine in 2003, then new state-of-the-art rescue gear and updated air packs in 2004, as well as a washer at the station that gently cleans uniforms and helps them last longer.
Click for full Photo Gallery Photos provided by rocklandfirefighters.org and Stephanie Spyropoulos, Jim Hudson, Deputy Ferguson, Ed O'Dea, Jason Fricker and other staff.
Rockland firefighters practice rescues in old factory
Firefighters train to rescue their own in an emergency
By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Sep 26, 2008 @ 04:57 AM
Last update Sep 26, 2008 @ 05:02 AM
Most of us learn that we should stop, drop and roll if our clothing catches fire. Firefighters are taught that in a fire they need to communicate, cooperate and stick together.
In a training exercise on Thursday, two firefighters crawled in search of an “injured” firefighter. Their eyes were covered with wax paper to simulate having smoke-clouded vision.
Once they found their colleague, they rotated his air pack to the side and dragged him out of the room to safety.
More than a dozen off-duty Rockland firefighters took part in the drill, which was part of a four-session training program that also includes classroom study and a practice climb out of a second-story window.
“It reintroduces many of the basic techniques we learn in recruit school,” said Paul Medeiros, a Hyannis firefighter and lead instructor from the Barnstable County Fire Training Academy. “Regrettably, a lot of the stuff they’re learning is based on actual fatalities.”
The training will be paid for with a $135,000 federal grant obtained by the Rockland Firefighters Union. It is the third federal grant the union has secured since 2003.
The grant money also will be used to equip the firefighters with wire cutters, knives and screwdrivers, all things they might need if trapped in a tight, burning space, Deputy Fire Chief William Ferguson said.
“The whole point is to get him out of the environment, get him out of the fire,” Ferguson said.
Thursday’s drill was held at the construction site for the Residences at Emerson Shoe, a new apartment complex being built to replace the old Codman Building.
After making arrangements with building owner Fred Kiley of the Heritage Companies, the firefighters have been practicing rescue techniques at the old factory.
“It’s a great facility to use because it’s similar to a lot of environments we’d find ourselves in,” said Firefighter Marc Oshry, who helped write the grant application. “These rooms could be anywhere.”
The sessions will wrap up on Cape Cod next week, when the firefighters will be trained to save a fallen firefighter trapped in a smoke-filled building.
“Not only is it a huge training, it’s a huge team-building thing for us,” Firefighter Charlie Williams said.
Fire alarm, crash, medical calls made for one hectic morning
12 businesses forced to evacuate because of oven malfunction
By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Jul 16, 2008 @ 06:38 AM
A smoky restaurant oven triggered a fire alarm and forced a dozen businesses to evacuate Tuesday morning.
Because of an equipment malfunction and human error, an oven at Seasons Cafe filled a kitchen with smoke shortly before 10 a.m., Lt. Craig A. Erickson of the Rockland Fire Department said. The 12 businesses in the Hingham Street Marketplace strip mall were evacuated for about 15 minutes, he said.
Firefighters had to leave the mall quickly so they could respond to a rollover accident on Stanton Street. One person hurt in the two-car accident was taken to Brockton Hospital; two refused medical treatment, Erickson said.
Rockland responded to four other that were reported between 9:29 and 10:06 a.m., with help from police and the Abington, Hanover, Whitman and Norwell fire departments.
“We were kind of running around town back and forth, but somehow we got the job done,” Erickson said.
He said the Rockland fire station was empty for more than a hour as firefighters responded to the multiple calls.
“It’s a common occurrence in Rockland, and it’s happening more and more,” Erickson said.
Our new 2008 AEV/Ford ambulance was delivered on 6/30/2008 and will be in service soon. This ambulance replaces the 2006 AEV/International ambulance and will be in service as A-1. Rockland will still maintain the 2000 Lifeline/Ford ambulance as a back-up/reserve after the new A-1 enters service.
A man was taken to South Shore Hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was thrown from his car Thursday afternoon in a Hingham Street crash. Rockland Fire Capt. Scott Duffy said the injured man, in his mid-50, was not breathing and did not have a pulse when firefighters arrived at the scene. He regained a pulse on the way to the hospital, Duffy said. There were no other injuries in the crash, reported at 3:07 p.m., Duffy said. The accident is under investigation by Rockland police to determine its cause. Fire Chief J. Michael Sammon said his crews were called to Hingham Street when a driver sped out of Commerce Road and hit two cars on Hingham Street. Sammon said the injured man, whose name was not released, was likely the driver who hit the other two cars. The roads were closed for an hour and reopened shortly after 5 p.m., Sammon said.
Members of the Rockland Firefighters Local 1602 and their families held a memorial on Sunday, June 6th to honor their past members. A statue of a firefighter that was donated by Maureen O'Haire was dedicated at the ceremony. Over 60 people including members, past and present, friends and family members were in attendance. A memorial breakfast was held at the Harmon Club at the conclusion of the ceremony at the memorial in front of the fire station.
Rockland Firefighters responded to fatal MVA on Abington St.
Rockland Firefighters responded to a fatal accident on Abington Street early Thursday morning(6/5/08). The "Jaws of Life" were required to extricate the victim from the vehicle. The victim was transported to South Shore Hospital by the Rockland Fire Ambulance.
After ruling out other possibilities, investigators have deemed that a June 4 fire at a barn on 425 Hingham Street was intentionally ignited.
Jennifer Mieth, public information officer at the State Fire Marshal’s office, said the fire has been deemed to have been caused by arson, after a joint investigation found no other possible causes at the site.
Mieth said she could only offer limited details to support the theory because she does not want to taint any future interviews with witnesses who may have seen the fire, who might obtain information from the media.
Mieth said the State Fire Marshal’s office is hoping the possible $5,000 reward may entice people to call the fire Marshall’s office at (800)-682-9229 with additional information.
Witnesses or others with information could also call the Rockland Fire Department at (781) 871-3890.
On the day of the blaze — a Wednesday — Rockland resident Tim Flood was away from his home on Hingham Street when he got the unexpected call that a fire had ripped through the aging wood of his barn, which was built during the 1800s.
Fire officials determined the fire was lit at around 4 p.m. that day.
Flood said he received a call from a reporter, alerting him to the situation a few hours later.
But Flood said he’d been planning to sell his home to a potential buyer the following morning.
“So obviously, that’s no longer happening,” Flood said.
Flood said he’s the only person living at the property and that no one was hurt in the fire.
Flood said he became even more frustrated by the situation when he learned that a joint investigation by the Rockland Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal’s office determined the fire was intentionally set, with no related arrests as of the Standard’s press time on Wednesday.
“So it all went downhill from there,” Flood said.
The fire tore though the barn’s ceilings and the walls, leaving only piles of charred wood. The exterior has since been boarded up and is covered in soot and embers.
Flood said it would be more difficult to sell his home now that there is a burned barn on the property, and he said having a barn that old was one of the attractions for potential buyers.
“A lot of people who were looking at the property, were looking at it because it had that barn,” he said.
Flood said he could not think of anyone who would benefit from setting the barn ablaze.
“Right now it’s speculation,” he said.
Flood said his insurance company has not yet given a final reimbursement figure, though he expects to get a 10 percent reimbursement rate for the barn, which would cover an approximate $36,000.
“That barely covers the tear down,” Flood said.
Rockland girl spots fire, mom calls 911
By Andrew Lightman
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Jun 04, 2008 @ 11:56 PM
Last update Jun 05, 2008 @ 07:49 AM
Sitting by her front window Wednesday afternoon, 8-year-old Mia Celestino looked up from her book and saw smoke coming from the barn across the street.
She told her mom, who called 911, and firefighters were able to prevent the 208-year-old building behind 425 Hingham St. from burning to the ground.
The fire, which started in the second floor of the two-and-a-half story wooden barn at about 4 p.m., caused heavy damage, said Fire Chief J. Michael Sammon. When firefighters arrived, they could see heavy smoke rising from the building.
It took about a half-hour to get the fire under control, he said.
No one was at home when the fire broke out and no one was injured, Sammon said.
Homeowner Timothy Flood did not learn of the fire in his barn, which is set back about 20 feet from his 258-year-old house, until late Wednesday evening.
The property is for sale at the asking price of $372,000, and Flood said he found a buyer for it on Wednesday.
“This will obviously impact that,” he said.
Sammon said the cause of the fire is unknown and the State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating.
Rockland woman dies in suspicious fire - Firefighters flee propane tank explosion; investigators looking for cause
By ANDREW LIGHTMAN The Patriot Ledger
ROCKLAND - Investigators are delving into the death of a woman who was found unconscious in her Rockland home moments before an explosion that injured three firefighters.
Kerrin M. Kelly-Nelson, 42, a dispatcher for Weymouth police, was pronounced dead at BrocktonHospital Wednesday after firefighters carried her out of her home at 248 Centre Ave. at about 4:30 p.m. and attempted to revive her.
‘‘An autopsy will determine the victim’s cause of death and whether it was caused by the fire,’’ said Bridget Norton Middleton, spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.
A neighbor said Nelson’s husband, Richard Nelson, 45, was at the house after his wife was taken to the hospital and later went to Rockland police station to talk to officers.
Fire Chief J. Michael Sammon called the fire suspicious and said it started near or in a gas stove in the first-floor kitchen. A propane tank left near the stove exploded moments after Fire Lt. Donald Hussey and Firefighters Tom Heaney and Mike Tracy got into the house through the rear kitchen door.
When the propane exploded - the tank was the size usually used with outdoor grills - it filled the kitchen with fire.
One firefighter jumped out a window to avoid the flames. The other two rushed back out of the door.
‘‘I saw it. I just yelled at the firefighters to get out,’’ Sammon said. ‘‘I saw the ball of flame, and I thought I was going to lose three firefighters.’’
The three were treated at SouthShoreHospital in Weymouth and released Wednesday night.
All three firefighters ran back into the house and found Nelson in a second-floor bedroom. She was unconscious.
Amy Dalton, a neighbor, said rescue workers tried to revive Nelson with CPR for several minutes.
Dalton called Nelson ‘‘a wonderful woman’’ and said she has a daughter serving in the Army in Iraq.
‘‘They were both very nice - they were always out in the yard, quick to offer a soda to the neighbors,’’ Dalton said of the Nelsons.
Real estate records show that Nelson and her husband bought their Centre Avenue home for $290,000 in late 2004.
‘‘The cause of the fire is under investigation,’’ Sammon said. ‘‘This is a crime scene.’’
Weymouth Police Capt. Brian Callahan, who went to the Rockland fire scene last night, said Nelson had worked as a dispatcher on the day shift for the police department for the past 10 years.
"Kerrin was just a great person -- she had a good sense of people, common sense, she was always trying to be helpful," he said. "The dispatchers work in close quarters and don't get much of a break. They are like a family around here, a close-knit group, and people are pretty upset here today. It's a real tragedy."
Staff reporter Sue Scheible contributed to this report.
Teen saves cousin from fire: Two suffer burns in Rockland roofing accident
By ANDREW LIGHTMANThe Patriot Ledger
ROCKLAND - A Rockland teen likely saved his cousin’s life after the Weymouth man fell from a roof in flames, Rockland firefighters said
Fire chief criticized for letting four go: Sammon says budget cuts left him no choice
By ANDREW LIGHTMANThe Patriot Ledger
ROCKLAND - Selectmen this week criticized Fire Chief Michael Sammon over his decision to lay off four firefighters
The Rockland Firefighters, IAFF Local 1602 is pleased to announce that it has secured a US Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the Rockland Fire Department. The grant is for $135,620 and will be used to provide the members of the Rockland Fire Department with essential survival training and equipment that due to the Town’s financial problems has been impossible to obtain. Also included in this grant is a breathing air compressor to fill the breathing air bottles that allow us to go into hazardous environments. Previously firefighters would have to travel to a neighboring community to fill these bottles, reducing the shift coverage while they were out of town.
This is the third federal grant in the last six years that the Union has been able to secure for the fire department. Previous grants were, in 2003, for a new fire engine, and in 2004, for new firefighter turn-out gear, a Plymovent vehicle exhaust system, upgrades to air-packs and a washer-extractor system to clean and prolong the life of the new turn-out gear.
In addition to the Federal grants, firefighters have also been successful in receiving a number of state firefighting equipment grants. These grants have been used to provide every firefighter with a portable radio, buy training equipment and ice rescue equipment as well as various tools that the department could not afford to purchase without help.
These grants were written by union members, on their own time, with no financial compensation from the Town, in an attempt to better the department and help the Town through its financial difficulties. To date the Rockland Firefighters, IAFF Local 1602 has been able to secure over $550,000 dollars in grants to the Town and Fire Department.
We are still trying to work on the content. If anyone would like something posted, please let me know. I am looking for any pictures, old or new, of Rockland fires or firefighters for the site. If you have any or know someone who does again let me know.
Welcome to the Official website of Rockland Firefighters IAFF local # 1602. This site was designed to bring the most up-to-date information to our members and the community we serve. Feel free to browse around and see who we are, and what we do.
We welcome emailed comments, questions or suggestions