A gas grill is the suspected cause of a fire that injured two people and damaged a house and garage.
Firefighters found the rear wall of the house at 165 Hingham St. and a nearby detached garage engulfed in flames after receiving a 911 call at 7:23 p.m. Wednesday, Rockland Fire Lt. Donald Hussey said.
Fire departments from Abington, Hanover, Weymouth and Whitman were called in to help, and the blaze was brought under control by about 8 p.m., Hussey said. The house is uninhabitable now.
Hussey said the man who owns the home and an Abington firefighter, whose names were not released, were taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth with non life-threatening injuries. Clinton A. Beck, 60, is the homeowner, according to the Rockland residents list.
Two other people who were in the house when the fire started were not injured. The kitchen and a second-floor bedroom as well as the garage were heavily damaged, Hussey said.
The investigation into the fire’s cause was focusing on a gas grill that had been in use earlier that was on a rear porch, Hussey said.
Rockland: Hingham St. fire rekindles again- and again
It was the fire that just wouldn't die in Rockland this week.
A two-alarm house fire Wednesday evening at a home at 165 Hingham Street sent the homeowner and an Abington firefighter to the hospital.
Rockland Deputy Fire Chief Bill Ferguson says early Thursday morning a small, unattached garage on the property began to burn and was quickly put out. But not for long-- the garage began to smolder again Thursday afternoon.
"The problem we're having with it is there's a heavy load of storage in the small little attic that we can't get to," said Ferguson. "And the building is too unstable for us to climb up and in to get it."
Finally a backhoe was brought in to tear down the garage so fire crews could put out the last of the fire.
Ferguson says they believe the fire was accidental, but it is still under investigation.
"We're trying to speak with the gentleman who is the homeowner. Unfortunately, he is still hospitalized and we're unable to talk with him and complete the investigation," said Ferguson.
The Abington firefighter was treated and has been released from the hospital.
Whitman, Abington, Hanover and Weymouth all provided mutual aid at the scene on Wednesday.
During the early morning of October 10, 2010… 10/10/10 the Rockland Fire Department received a report of a building fire, on Mackinlay Way. Rockland Engine 3, Engine 4, and Ladder 1 were dispatched to the scene as well as Box 33 being struck for manpower. Fire Chief Scott Duffey was first on scene at approximately 5:30 am, and reported the building “fully involved.” Arriving units were ordered to start wetting down a nearby church because it posed an exposure problem.
Exterior operations were ordered with lines because the 1 and ½ wood frame building was vacant. The building happens to be the oldest home in Rockland. This historical landmark was established in 1745 and has been located across from the High School for decades. The firefighters were aware of this fact and did not rush inside quickly, because there was a threat of a floor collapse.
Abington Fire Department provided mutual aid on the scene, as well as a few Fire Chiefs from surrounding towns. Rockland Ladder 1 was raised to provide a better aerial view of the blaze and to wet down the scene. The bulk of the heavy fire was knocked down around 6:45 am. Following this the firefighters began to wet down hotspots and start overhauling of the building. The Massachusetts State Police Fire Marshall was called in because of the suspicious nature of the fire. This historical building was demolished shortly after 12:00 in the afternoon, then all units were finally able to clear the scene. Nobody was injured during the fire and it is still under investigation.
A piece of the town’s history met an early end Sunday.
The 1745 House, whose demolition was pending, was torn down after being damaged in an early-morning fire that officials are calling suspicious.
A passer-by went to the fire station at 5:31 a.m. Sunday to report the fire, Rockland fire Lt. Tom Heaney said.
Since all firefighters were out on a medical call, Heaney said the firefighter serving as dispatcher went to the scene alone in a back-up engine.
“The fire was through the roof on arrival,” Heaney said.
The building was unoccupied, so the first priority was to keep the fire from spreading to the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church, he said.
Along with Fire Chief Scott Duffey, the firefighter set up a hose between the two buildings to protect the church until the other firefighters had cleared from the medical call, Heaney said.
The fire in the one-and-a-half story, Cape-style house was brought under control within an hour, he said.
Abington firefighters assisted at the scene, while Hanover firefighters covered the Rockland station.
Because of the damage to the structure, “it was deemed unsafe by the building inspector and the fire chief, and they called in an excavator to demolish it,” Heaney said.
No injuries were reported, he said.
The cause of the fire is suspicious, and the state Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to assist in the investigation.
The 1745 House, also known as the Samuel Greene homestead, is on MacKinlay Way.
The house had been moved twice in nearly 200 years. Originally on Plain Street, it was moved to Market Street in 1818. But when that property was purchased for commercial development 38 years ago, residents saved the house by moving it again to its present location.
The house was used as a museum for about seven years after that.
But since then, the wooden structure had fallen into disrepair, with roof and beams rotting and a foundation that needed work. Historical commission Chairman Jim Paul estimated in June it would cost more than $100,000 to restore the house.
Paul said securing grant money to preserve the house was difficult because the house had been moved and thereby lost much of its historical significance.
Earlier this year, Deputy Fire Chief William Ferguson had designated the house as a safety hazard, and plans were made to tear down the house this fall.
About two dozen residents attended a farewell ceremony for the house in June. The event included a musket salute by Revolutionary War re-enactors and a visit by local members of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Fire Prevention Open House!!! A complete success!!! Thank You
The Rockland Fire Department and The Rockland Firefighters Local 1602 wish to thank everyone for making the Rockland Fire Department's Annual Open House held on Saturday October 2, 2010 a complete success.
This event was held during the National Fire Prevention Week.
Please visit Liberty Mutual's BeFireSmart.com website, take the fire safety quiz and credit the Rockland Fire Department.
We're committed to helping families live safer, more secure lives. And we're proud to partner with fire departments across the country to help families learn more about fire safety and fire prevention. Now is your chance to learn, and at the same time, give back! Your fire station could earn $10,000 this fall!
Electrical wires came down on a box truck and fire engine on Hingham Street on Thursday afternoon, temporarily trapping the truck driver in his vehicle and snarling rush-hour traffic.
Lt. John Sammon of the Rockland Fire Department said firefighters responded to a report of wires down on Hingham Street at about 1:20 p.m. Fire department members arriving at the scene found that an electrical connection to a house had come loose.
Soon thereafter, a box truck apparently snagged a low-hanging wire up the street and pulled down three telephone poles, Sammon said. That pinned the truck, he added, while a tangle of live wires also fell on the truck and the fire engine.
Sammon said the truck driver had to stay inside his vehicle until a National Grid crew responded to remove the wires.
“If he’d gotten out and touched the ground near the truck, it would have completed the circuit and he could’ve been electrocuted,” Sammon said of the driver. “He was very cooperative. I think he was pretty scared.”
The driver was freed after about 25 minutes, but it took another hour to fully get the wires off the vehicle. The firefighters had already gotten out of their truck before the wires came down on top of their truck.
Still, the section of Hingham Street near Reservoir Park Drive remained closed through rush hour while National Grid worked to repair the lines.
No one was injured. Sammon said it was fortunate that no pedestrians were walking by when the wires came down.
People across the South Shore are finding comfort in sharing their favorite stories about Robert Nyman, the popular six-term Democratic legislator who died Friday in an accidental drowning at his home. This week they will have the opportunity to tell more stories and to honor his memory.
Nyman’s family is following his wishes and will hold two wakes for him Tuesday and Wednesday at Hanover Town Hall, where he began his public service career 31 years ago as a 19-year-old on the school committee.
Town officials met with the family Sunday to plan for the wakes from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at town hall at 550 Hanover St.
Selectmen Chairman David Greene said the town will arrange for shuttle buses from the new senior center because “Bobby was such a friend to the elderly and we expect a lot will want to go.”
There will also be buses at some of the schools to help transport people.
“We just have no idea how many people to expect,” Greene said. “We want to do this right and honor Bobby and the family’s wishes. We are very humbled and very proud to do it.”
Information will be posted and updated on the Hanover town website today.
The funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Church at 392 Hanover St. There will be a gathering afterward in the parish hall.
Tributes poured in over the weekend from Gov. Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo,Senate President Therese Murray and the hundreds of people whose lives he touched.
Nyman is being remembered as a principled man who loved his family, was a hard-working and “true public servant,” and didn’t consider any request for help too insignificant or small. He was widely liked and known as kind but also funny, fun to be with and quick with the barbs behind the microphone at a roast.
Residents said he came through when it counted: $200,000 for the new senior center when it needed state help to get off the ground, funding for the new Hanover High School now being built, and for long-needed improvements to Route 53.
On Saturday at the Nyman home, his oldest daughter, 19-year-old Krista Nyman, called her father “just perfect as a dad. ... It was cool growing up with him.”
His family had long realized that he understood the way the smallest things matter the most to people.
“It helps to see how people can live through the memories of him and to see how many lives he touched,” Krista said. “That is what is keeping me going. “
Two weeks ago, Nyman was emcee at the celebration of the new senior center, whose initial funding he helped secure.
“He was at just about every function the town had over the years,” senior Al Taylor said Saturday. “Any meetings, he was there.”
Taylor said when he asked Nyman to speak to his class at the UMass- Boston gerontology program, “he came and the class loved him.”
Friday night, as word spread about Nyman’s death, DeLeo said “calls kept coming in and virtually every one began by saying that he had been ‘a good guy.’”
Friday, Nyman attended a meeting for a charity golf event, then returned from the golf course at 1 p.m. and left sometime later. When his family came home at 8:30 p.m. they found him in the pool and called 911. A neighbor attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth shortly after 9 p.m.
The Plymouth County district attorney’s office has ruled it an accidental drowning.
The governor had planned to go to Hanover on Saturday to campaign with Nyman during the town’s Hanover Days events. Instead, he paid a 15-minute condolence visit to the Nyman home Saturday afternoon and was hosted at Hanover Days by the town cultural council.
“I had a longtime plan to be here today with my longtime friend, Bobby Nyman,” Patrick told the crowd. “We are all mourning the profound loss to everyone. ... He loved you and he loved this town. Rhonda (Nyman’s wife) and the girls can count on you all to support him. I know he is here in spirit.”
Nyman’s youngest daughter is Kara, 17.
Donations can be made to the Cardinal Cushing School at 376 Washington St. in Hanover. McDonald Funeral Home in Weymouth is handling the funeral arrangements.
A fire in an industrial oven at National Coating Corporation on Beech Street caused an estimated $25,000 in damage, fire officials said.
There were no injuries.
The call came in at 8:20 a.m. Twenty-five people were working at the 70,000 square foot building when the fire started inside an over that heats chemically treated products, Deputy Chief William Ferguson said.
National Coating applies chemical coating to textiles, paper, automotive parts and other items.
The fire started when paper that was rolling on a conveyor through the over backed up, Ferguson said.
The oven is 10 to 12 feet wide and 100 feet long and is heated with gas fired burners, he said. The company has four or five of the ovens, Ferguson said.
The paper product being treated was intended for vehicle clutch covers.
Residue build-up in the exhaust ducts of the oven also likely contributed to the fire, Ferguson said.
The fire was extinguished fairly quickly, he said.
Abington and Hanover fire engines responded, along with a ladder truck from Whitman. A Hingham engine covered the Rockland department during the fire.
All fire companies left the scene by 10:30 a.m., said Ferguson.
Homes and businesses on four streets in Rockland were evacuated for about an hour Tuesday morning after a high-pressure gas line was struck by workers in the area, authorities say.
Rockland Fire Lt. John Sammon said National Grid had been doing some work at 81 Park St. near the corner of Howard Street, when workers struck a 2-inch high-pressure gas line about 9:29 a.m. Tuesday.
Sammon said the resulting gas leak was an immediate cause for concern. The area in question has a mix of homes and factories.
“There was a large plume of gas cloud blowing across Howard Street upon our arrival,” he said.
Rockland police and fire departments evacuated homes and workplaces on Howard, Church, Stanton and Everett streets as a precaution.
National Grid shut off the gas at the scene and was able to repair the leak, Sammon said. Police and firefighters checked nearby buildings to make sure they were safe and after about an hour, people were allowed back in, he said.
On May 11, 2010 Rockland Selectman Ed Kimball spent part of the day riding-along with Group One. Selectman Kimball first toured the fire station getting a first hand look at the apparatus and condition of the station. After the tour he was fitted for gear and participated in a "Jaws of Life" extrication drill and car fire drill. He was able to operate all of the various tools that are utilized in an extrication as well as take the nozzle and attack the fire.
05/07/2010 - Around 0815 hours firefighters responded to 117 Marks Street for a reported house fire. Companies reported a basement fire in a one story wood framed occupied dwelling. The fire was quickly knocked down with two-hand lines. Hanover Rescue-1 also worked on-scene, while an Abington engine covered Rockland's station. Rockland's ambulance transported one person with minor injuries. (Story and photos courtesy of NEFirePhoto.com)
Kim Paramenter is embraced by Lisa Christie, a medical assistant who helped victims who were struck by a hit and run driver. Four teenagers were struck and injured by a white van Monday afternoon in Rockland, according to police.
Police have identified a Norwell teen as the driver of a white van that drove into a group of Rockland teens, sending four to the hospital. Nathan Delaplain-zook, 18 will face attempted murder and other charges, Police Deputy Chief Gerard Eramo said.
Police Chief John Llewellyn said the Rockland teens, three girls and a boy, were taken to local hospitals. He said that one of the victims is in critical condition, another is in surgery and a third is in stable condition at a local hospital. A fourth teen sustained non-life threatening injuries, he said.
There were five other teens in Delaplain-zook's van who are being questioned, Llewellyn said. He said early information is that the incident was triggered by a fight over a girl.
Police were joined by groups of onlookers at the site of a crash scene at the intersection of Church and Blanchard Streets.
Anthony Saturno, a freshman at Cavalry Chapel Academy in Rockland, said teenagers had gathered for a possible fight between Norwell High and Rockland High students.
Saturno said that a white van drove into the lot and drove into a group of teenage girls, two of whom he described as his "best friends." The driver then head off through the back of the parking lot.
"It was scary," Saturno said, "because you saw the tires going over them."
Called to the scene around 3:55 p.m., fire and police units found three teenage girls lying on the ground in the parking lot of a condominium complex. A fourth teenager, a male, was found walking nearby with a serious injury to his spine, according to Rockland Fire Chief Robert Dipoli.
Authorities called for a medical helicopter, but it could not be flown in due to high winds. Instead, two of the injured were taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth while the other two went to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital.
Three of the teenage victims suffered serious injuries, including multiple traumas, according to Dipoli. Their conditions were not immediately known.
Firefighters Walk Over 60,000 Miles in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ Fitness Challenge; Firefighters from Seven Cities/Towns (including Rockland)Climb the Ladder to Health and Wellness Success
BOSTON— April 16, 2010 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) today announced the winners of its’ Firefighter Fitness Challenge, a 12-week challenge pitting over 160 firefighters in seven cities/towns (Arlington, Framingham, Hingham, Hudson, Ludlow, Peabody and Rockland) in a friendly competition to improve their health and wellness. Hudson, the winning station, received a $2,000 wellness grant today at Florian Hall in Dorchester. Several other prizes of a $50 value were given to the Top Performers and Most Improved from each station.
“We saw this Challenge as an opportunity to improve the health and fitness of firefighters throughout Massachusetts,” said Steve Shay, Director of Select Markets Labor Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “The results and feedback are inspiring. “Participants experienced weight loss, joined gyms, began eating healthier with their families. One individual even made a seven-hour trek from Hudson to Arlington on foot, and another signed up for the Boston Marathon. We’ve seen a real dedication to leading healthier lives from these firefighters, which will ultimately help to bring down their health care costs.”
Success of the participants was measured by FitAware ActionTrackers provided by AWare Technologies, devices that record the number of “steps” each person took during the challenge, whether walking, running, or climbing a ladder.
Hudson came in first place with 14,126 average steps, followed by Arlington (12,877), Ludlow (11,594), Rockland (11,120), Framingham (10,636), Hingham (10,332), and Peabody (8,226).
Top Performers by station include: Rob O'Hare, Hudson (1st overall); Craig Brown, Arlington (2nd overall); James Bailey, Arlington (3rd overall); Scott Kozak, Ludlow; Mark DiTocco, Rockland; John Schultz, Framingham; Marc McManus, Hingham; and Adam Skelton, Peabody.
In looking at health care trends of labor unions, including firefighters, BCBSMA determined that many individuals were not visiting their Primary Care Physicians regularly, and could use help improving their fitness and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Beginning last fall, participating firefighters began taking part in nutrition and educational seminars to prepare them for the 12-week fitness challenge that kicked off in January. They underwent pre-challenge biometric screenings to evaluate overall health and fitness, and benefited from on-site physical training sessions and healthy cooking demonstrations during the challenge to help them with their progress.
The challenge also had a social networking component that kept participants engaged. Firefighters could monitor progress tracked by their ActionTrackers on the FitAware website and communicate online with each other throughout the 12 weeks. The top performers from each station achieved an average number of steps ranging from 12,924 to 46,189, and those showing the most improvement saw results ranging from a 57 to 1,342 percent improvement from the start to the finish of the challenge.
Rob O’Hare, Hudson firefighter and top performer across all stations notes, “It was not easy to get the steps that I did, but the ActionTracker gave me the motivation and the accountability that I needed to stick with it. This challenge has helped me reflect on areas of my life I've been ignoring.” Rob was the firefighter that made the seven-hour trek from Hudson to Arlington on foot.
“The commitment firefighters in this challenge made to improve their health and fitness is commendable,” said Bryce Williams, Senior Director of Health and Wellness at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Several participants experienced a weight loss of 10 pounds or more which can make a noticeable difference in helping to lower their blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes and improve overall health. We look forward to their continued success.”
"It was up to us to get the most out of this program so we could improve our health and fitness,” said Bryan Johannes, past-president of the Hudson Firefighters Union. “Working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and FitAware, our station achieved over 24 million steps and I lost 27 pounds. We feel better, look better and look forward to continuing to lead healthy lifestyles.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (www.bluecrossma.com) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to nearly 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
This fire was on Union St. in the Hollstein Shoe Block on 11/5/1982. The video was taken by Bill Harrigan a Freelance news photog from 3/1/1981 - 2/23/2007. He is now retired and has posted many of his videos on youtube. Bill Harrigan's web site: sites.google.com/site/harrigansvideohome/
The fire department is reporting that part of a lower level ceiling at Holy Family Church collapsed on Thursday morning.
A 20-by-20 foot section of plaster fell, Deputy Chief Bill Ferguson said. There were four workers inside the church, doing demolition of a section of ceiling in the lower sanctuary. The lower sanctuary has been closed for several days while the demolition work was taking place.
One worker was taken by helicopter to a Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Ferguson said the worker sustained back injuries. The three other workers were not taken to the hospital.
The collapse occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The church is not releasing a statement and referred questions to the Archdiocese of Boston.
Police and firefighters were still at the scene at 12:48 Thursday. The town building inspector and a structural engineer are being called to the church to determine whether the building is safe.
The church will be open for Mass this weekend.
Worker Hurt In Rockland Church Ceiling Collapse
The Holy Family Church in Rockland.
Part of a church ceiling collapsed in Rockland late Thursday morning, leaving a construction worker seriously hurt.
It happened at the Holy Family Parish on Union Street just after 11:30 a.m.
Deputy fire chief Bill Ferguson told WBZ four men were working on the plaster ceiling in the lower part of the church when it fell apart.
Two workers were trapped immediately.
One escaped, but the other was pinned down by a 20-foot-by-20-foot section of plaster that weighed several hundred pounds.
He was removed and rushed to a MedFlight medical rescue helicopter, which took him to a hospital in Boston.
His condition is not known.
Authorities have not released his name.
No one else was hurt.
The lower part of the church was closed off to parishoners at the time of the collapse.
Ferguson said that was because there was a partial collapse earlier in the renovation project.
A 16-year-old suffered multiple stab wounds at a party in Rockland on Friday and was airlifted to Boston for treatment. An 18-year-old Rockland resident has been arrested in the incident.
The attack took place at about 5:45 p.m. at a Church Street party, according to police reports. Both the victim and alleged assailant fled the scene with the victim being found a short time later at 22 School St.
Police subsequently charged Roberto Perez, 57 Church St., Apt. 3, with armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The injured boy, who police have not identified, was treated at the scene by Rockland Fire Department personnel but because of the severity of his wounds was airlifted to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where he is listed in stable condition, according to a police report.
18-year-old charged in Rockland stabbing
Victim of Church Street attack flown to Boston hospital
Rockland Fire Department Lt. Craig Erickson working hard during the relief effort in Haiti. He was part of a disaster relief team that arrived in the country two days after the initial earthquake on Jan. 12.
Rockland Fire Department Lt. Craig Erickson getting ready to board a Coast Guard C-130 bound for Haiti. He was part of a disaster relief team that arrived in the country two days after the initial earthquake on Jan. 12.
A collapsed building in Port Au Prince, Haiti, as seen by Fire Department Lt. Craig Erickson.
A scene of destruction in Port Au Prince, as seen by Rockland Fire Department Lt. Craig Erickson on his recent relief mission to the country as part of a DMAT team based out of Mass General Hospital in Boston.
A helicopter landing at Gheskio Field Hospital in Haiti, as seen through the eyes of Rockland Fire Lt. Craig Erickson on his recent mission to help the ravaged country.
Haitian residents pulling people out of the rubble in a section of Port Au Prince, as seen through the eyes of Rockland Fire Lt. Craig Erickson.
Members of Rockland Fire Lt. Craig Erickson's disaster relief team in Haiti rush to help a wounded patient.
A surgery scene at Gheskio Field Hospital in Haiti, from where Rockland Fire Lt. Craig Erickson recently returned.
A Haitian boy at the Gheskio Field Hospital holds up a picture of hope. Rockland Fire Lt. Craig Erickson was stationed at the field hospital, where he helped with relief efforts.
As a Rockland firefighter for the last 26 years, Lt. Craig Erickson had never seen such destruction.
Erickson was part of the first wave of relief efforts to Haiti with a Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), based out of Mass General Hospital in Boston, after a 7.0 earthquake hit the small country on Tuesday, Jan. 12. He and his team, known as DMAT MA 1, founded by Dr. Susan Briggs, arrived there on Jan. 14 and experienced the aftershock that shook the country once again. It measured 6.2.
“We didn’t really have time to think about it,” Erickson said. “We just had to get right to work. But whatever damage there was got even worse during the aftershock.”
Getting to Haiti wasn’t easy either, according to Erickson. As he and others on their way to help with the relief effirst flew over the Turks and Caicos in a standard passenger plane around the size of a 727, the aircraft suddenly banked left and pulled straight up. Another plane passed directly underneath Erickson’s aircraft.
“Our plane lost one or two engines and fell,” he said, noting the plane was full of people. Although it was a harrowing situation, the plane was able to land on the Turks and Caicos.
Erickson and the people on his plane transferred to a Coast Guard aircraft and took off for Haiti. As they approached the country from the air, Erickson said he saw something that disturbed him even more.
“Looking down, you could see all the fires,” he said, noting most of the fires were set for the purposes of “burning dead bodies.”
But that was nothing compared to seeing the disaster up close and personal.
Being one of the first to arrive in Haiti for relief purposes, Erickson and his team witnessed complete devastation.
Crowds of people were living in the street in horrible conditions. Dead bodies were being burned in the street, as there was no place to put the dead. Buildings had been transformed into piles of rubble, where people were still trapped inside.
“And it’s not like you’d see the destruction here and there in certain places,” Erickson said. “You couldn’t walk one block without seeing it. It was everywhere. And there was gunfire – we helped a few people with gunshot wounds. Lots of innocent people were getting injured.”
Erickson said the area of Port Au Prince, the epicenter of the earthquake, was also one of the epicenters of gang violence in Haiti.
Serving as the logistics chief for DMAT MA 1, Erickson oversaw medical equipment, the medical facilities and the pharmacy.
“You slept when you could and you ate when you could,” he said. “When you weren’t doing those things, you were helping people.”
Erickson said DMAT teams, which are located all over the United States, are groups “of para-professional medical personnel designed to provide medical care during a disaster or other event…to supplement the standard DMATs, there are highly specialized DMATs that deal with specific medical conditions such as crushing injuries, burn and mental health emergencies.
“DMATS are designed to be a rapid-response element to supplement local medical care until other or Federal or contract resources can be mobilized, or the situation is resolved. DMATs deploy to disaster sites with sufficient supplies and equipment to sustain themselves for a period of 72 hours while providing medical care at a fixed or temporary medical site. The personnel are activated for a period of two weeks.”
His team was located in an area of Port Au Prince and it immediately established the Gheskio Field Hospital, a makeshift medical facility that offered triage, operating rooms, a pharmacy and other areas for care.
“We had about 35 tents set up where we could do all kinds of medical procedures,” Erickson said.
“We dealt with a lot of gangrene,” he said, noting many amputations were necessary on people of all ages, even infants. He added gangrene is, “the death of tissue caused by an interruption of the flow of blood to a part of the body.”
He said his DMAT team was working in concert with an International Medical Surgical Rescue Team (IMSRT), also based out of Mass General Hospital. Working with the medical teams was the 82nd Airborne, which was on hand to provide protection, as Haiti is a very dangerous place.
As his team and others addressed the ailing people, Erickson said the heat was a big factor influencing working conditions, as the humidity was affecting some of the medical equipment. The heat also affected the generators running the equipment, so teams had to be careful during medical procedures. Sometimes there would be power surges and sometimes things would just lose power.
One of the more profound moments occurred during one of these outages.
Erickson said a ventilator that was keeping a small infant alive lost power at one point. The doctor taking care of that baby manually operated the ventilator with his hand for the next eight hours until it could be fixed.
“That was remarkable,” Erickson said.
He added everyone on hand – whether they were a doctor or member of the military – “worked outside of their areas of expertise.
“It was a high-intensity atmosphere where we were all just trying to save as many people as possible,” Erickson said.
He added about 500 patients were treated at any given time at the field hospital. He said nine children were born in that hospital while he was there.
Erickson said sometimes, his team and others would leave the field hospital and venture out to help people in other areas of Port Au Prince. But the 82nd Airborne had to accompany anyone that did that, given the dangers.
“To see the DMAT, the IMSRT and the 82nd Airborne working together – it was pretty amazing,” Erickson said. “It was extremely unique. We saved a lot of lives together. I think it was a learning experience for everyone who showed up.
“It was tough, though. Two weeks is a long time to be there. You start missing your family and the gravity of the situation weighs on you. But that’s the lucky thing for us – we got to go home.”
Erickson said he is not sure whether his team will be redeployed to Haiti because, he said, “there were a lot of injuries on my team. It’s going to take a while for some people to recover.”
Reflecting on the mission, Erickson said, “The Haitian people are amazing. All of them – all ages – are so strong. They can get through this. It was an honor for me to be part of the first medical team in the country after the earthquake. And it was an honor to see how everyone worked together.”
MA-DMAT 1 Returns from Haiti Welcome home Lt. Craig Erickson
1/21/10 Port au Prince, Haiti - Craig Erickson, cq, a firefighter in Rockland, MA, worked with members of the 82nd Airborne Division to bring USAID toiletries supplies inside the hospital grounds. Officials from USAID insisted on dropping off a huge delivery of toiletries at the Gheskio Field Hospital (the DMAT/IMSuRT hospital) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday afternoon, January 21, 2010. They did, however, distribute them, and the DMAT and IMSuRT teams cannot distribute goods for security reasons. So now these resources are sitting inside the Gheskio Field Hospital until someone or some organization figures out how to distribute them safely. Story by Stephen Smith/Globe Staff. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff.
7 NEWS WHDH-TV Boston
BOSTON -- As one group of doctors prepares to leave for Haiti, another is returning.
A group of doctors, nurses, and EMT's arrived at Logan Airport on Tuesday night and talked about an experience they will never forget.
They were working alongside a group of surgeons from all across the world. One woman from the group said the only word that comes to mind when she tries to describe the situation she saw is “apocalyptic.”
The group was happy to arrive home, but leaving Haiti was hard. In two weeks, the Massachusetts Disaster Medical Assistance Team set up a field hospital and treated over 500 patients.
However, the amount of help still needed weights heavily on them.
Dottie Vojack, an emergency room nurse from Boston Medical Center has worked with the team for years. She responded to the earthquake in Iran, but said nothing compares to the destruction in Haiti.
“Really, it’s bittersweet. We did amazing things...took care of people, saved hundreds of lives, but there is still so much more to do there,” said Vojack.
The team stayed indoors at first but aftershocks forced them to sleep outside. Every day they dealt with language barriers, dwindling supplies, and no running water.
“Normally here in the United States we put 10 or 15 people on one person and make them better, as better as we can. There, we did what we could with what we had. We were just doing a small portion of the job. We weren’t doing it all, we couldn’t save everybody,” said Eugene Rothman, a paramedic.
The team offered hope and found inspiration of their own.
“They’re very tough, resilient people. They’re amazing,” said Vojack.
Aid continues to pour into Haiti. Over a billion dollars from governments worldwide has been flown in, as well as some 500 million through private U.S. charities.
Wicked Local Photo By Laura Sinclair From left, Jamie McCourt (BCBS), John Sciara, Scott Margolis, Lt. John Sammon, Dan DelPrete
Rockland firefighters are taking a fitness challenge. The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts is endorsing the challenge, being sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Rockland is competing against other firefighters in Hingham, Peabody, Framingham, Arlington, Hudson, and Ludlow.
Just for the health of it: Rockland firefighters up against other towns in competition
Rockland firefighters are watching their steps this week, and they’re not the only ones.
Fifteen members of the Rockland Firefighters Union volunteered this week to compete in a firefighter challenge against seven other participating towns in a competition to track their health, using a step-tracking device provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
“It’s the first time this has been done,” Firefighters Union President Marc Oshry said. “It’s about the size of a car remote, and it tracks how many steps you take per day and upload it into a computer. Then you can see exactly when you did it, what you did at the gym, and you say ‘jeez, I need to walk more.’ It’s not about running a 20-mile marathon, it’s about getting us active.”
This week the firefighters participated in a prescreening Jan. 8, provided by Blue Cross.
“They measured some of the biometrics, our weight, our body mass—at the end of the 12-week program competition, they’ll be doing the same thing,” Oshry said. “At the end, the union with the highest average will win a $2,000 prize, and there are individual prizes for sub-categories such as most improvement. We asked everyone if they wanted to do it, and some people didn’t want to do it for particular reasons, but it’s not required.”
Rockland’s firefighters are competing against Arlington, Framingham, Hingham, Hudson, Ludlow and Peabody.
But more importantly, Oshry said, they’ll be competing against themselves.
“I found that since I'm seeing it, I'm thinking ‘I need to walk a little more, and maybe I should walk on the treadmill, or walk around the station,’” he said.
Blue Cross is also providing participating towns a personal trainer to meet with firefighters and show them exercises to train themselves, and a nutritionist who will be conducting cooking demonstrations.
“We’re looking forward to a lot of these little things they’re doing for us,” Oshry said. “The healthier we become, the less claims and injuries we have, the better overall for everybody. So getting us active, getting us healthy, not only benefits us but the towns and the insurance companies.”